About the researcher

black and white photo of ben

Ben Jarman is carrying out this research as a PhD. Ben completed his MPhil in Criminological Research at the Institute of Criminology in 2017, achieving a Distinction overall and being named runner-up for the Manuel Lopez-Rey Graduate Prize in Criminology. His dissertation,which served as pilot research for this project, investigated the circumstances in which lifers made progress or became stuck in ‘dead ends’ while serving lengthy prison sentences.

Ben’s interest in prisons developed while he was working for voluntary sector organisations. From a year as an intern at the Quaker Council for European Affairs, he went on to two separate stints with Clinks,where he researched the role played by volunteers in prisons and published guidance materials for organisations on how to evaluate the impact made by their volunteers. In between these stints, Ben served for three years as Fine Cell Work‘s Volunteers & Programmes Manager, work which took him into prisons of every kind.

This research project has its origins in Ben’s growing curiosity about the enormous variation between prisons and their residents, and (in particular) the different ways that people serving very long prison sentences think about who they were and are, and how they have changed.

Before his involvement in prisons, Ben taught history in secondary schools for several years. His interest in research is long-standing, with action research conducted in his classroom published in Teaching History. After completing his MPhil in 2017, he carried out archival research commissioned by HM Prison & Probation Service, working with colleagues from Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh. The report of that research (and a condensed summary)are available for download; further publications from this and his Masters research are in preparation.

Ben has been a Quaker since 2005, and is a member of Westminster Quaker Meeting.The partnership funding arrangement for this research originated with Ben’s awareness of past Quaker work in the field of imprisonment.The PhD supervisor is Dr Ben Crewe; further information about his work, and about the Prisons Research Centre,can be found on the Institute of Criminology’s website.