Dr Jose Pina-Sánchez

Dr Jose Pina-Sánchez


I am an Associate Professor in Quantitative Criminology. Through my work, as a researcher and an educator, I seek to explore the functioning of the Criminal Justice System using advanced statistical methods and new forms of data. In doing so, I seek to contribute to a fairer, more transparent, and effective Criminal Justice System. 

My background is distinctly international and multidisciplinary. I hold a BSc in Economics from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, an MA in Political Economics from the Université Pierre Mendès France, and an Msc and PhD in Social Statistics from the University of Manchester. Before joining the University of Leeds in 2015, and formally becoming a Criminologist, I was a Fellow in Statistics at the London School of Economics. Before that I worked in the private sector as a consultant in Public Policy Evaluation.

My lines of research are fundamentally applied. I seek to answer relevant research questions, with a clear real-world application, using the best analytical approaches available, without constraining myself to a specific academic discipline. A good testament of this is my publication record, featuring Statistics, Survey Methodology, Psychology, Political Science, Law, and Criminology journals. Such drive to tackle applied issues has lead me to collaborate with multiple Criminal Justice partners (Sentencing Council for England and Wales, Sentencing Academy, Crown Prosecution Service, Parole Board, Ministry of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service, Slovenian State Prosecutor, or Cumbria and West Yorkshire Police Forces) in more than a dozen funded projects. 

Through my research I have pushed the knowledge frontier in Criminal Justice studies, while simultaneously achieving a real impact outside academia. For example, I have collaborated with the Sentencing Council for England and Wales to reformulate the analytical protocols used to assess the impact of their sentencing guidelines. These new analytical tools allow analysts at the Sentencing Council to identify changes in consistency across courts or unexpected increases in sentence severity, following the introduction of new sentencing guidelines. 


  • Program manager of the 'BSc Criminal Justice and Criminology (Quantitative Pathway)'

Research interests

Most of my research has focused on sentencing and criminal justice decision-making, where I have explored new analytical strategies to operationalise highly elusive concepts such as consistency, individualisation, severity, or discrimination. In my latest project ‘Exploring the Nature of Ethnic Disparities in Sentencing through Causal Inference’ I am leading a multidisciplinary team of researchers exploring whether ethnic disparities in prison sentences could be interpreted as evidence of discrimination in sentencing.

I am also working in the subject of quantitative bias and measurement error specifically (i.e. the extent to which observed data represents the true phenomenon that we would like to record). I have explored this question using administrative and survey data on unemployment, and analytical strategies based on simulations, synthetic dataset, Bayesian statistics, and latent variable estimation. Currently, I am examining the prevalence, impact, and potential solutions to the ‘dark figure of crime’, as a member of the ‘Recounting Crime’ project.

Other methodological areas that I am interested in are multilevel modelling, longitudinal data analysis, and causal inference. Lastly, I am also interested in questions of compliance with the law and insititutional legitimacy. In paricular, I have recently sought to explore the causal effect of procedural justice on institutional legitimacy, and the extent to which such effect is uniform across people. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I became an Associate Fellow with the UK Higher Education Academy in 2015, while I was still based at the London School of Economics, teaching Management UG students about Statistical Modelling and Survey Methodology.

Since I arrived at Leeds I became the module leader for the UG and PGT modules on Research Methods in Criminology and Criminal Justice, where most of my teaching has been concentrated. In 2018 I became the program manager of the QStep ‘Quantitative Pathway in Criminology and Criminal Justice’, where I also lead the module ‘Quantitative Social Research II’.  

I have also collaborated and lead short courses aimed at researchers, on the topics of Missing Data, Multilevel Modelling, Expert Elicitation Techniques, and Longitudinal Data Analysis. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Criminal Justice Studies

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>