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Helen Arnold

Senior Lecturer in Criminology


Helen Arnold

T: 01473 338532

Helen is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at University of Suffolk as well as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University. Prior to joining University of Suffolk Helen was a Research Associate at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University, where she had worked since 1999 after completing the M.Phil in Criminology (she was awarded The Manuel Lopez-Rey Graduate prize (proxime accesserunt) for her thesis on Individual Differences in Personality: A Comparison of Violent and Non-violent Offenders ).

She has undertaken a range of research projects in collaboration with Professor Alison Liebling including: An Exploration of Decision-Making in Discretionary Lifer Panels , Measuring the Quality of Prison Life , and, most recently (2009-2011) a study of a maximum security prison ( An Exploration of Staff-Prisoner Relationships at HMP Whitemoor ). She has also worked on several projects as a consultant for the Prison Service including a four-prison study in 2008 on Prisoners perceptions of the complaints system and the reporting of racist incidents . She is completing her PhD at Cambridge which is titled Identifying the High Performing Prison Officer .

Helen has also worked as a Research Officer for Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons and has been invited to give a number of lectures at other HE establishments including Leicester University and Anglia Ruskin University. For several years she also taught Research Methods on the Masters Degree programme in Criminology at Cambridge. Overall, she has been working and conducting research in prisons for the past 20 years and she has published a number of single and co-authored publications, a selection of which can be found listed below.

Teaching Responsibilities

Helen joined University of Suffolk in 2011 and is currently Module Leader for the Level 4 module Principles of Psychology for Criminology and for the Level 6 Module Penology . She also teaches the module Key Thinkers in Criminology and Contemporary Issues in Criminology . Helen is also a Dissertation Supervisor for Level 6 students.

Research Interests

Helen s current research interest s focus primarily on: the sociology of prison life; the aims, value and function of imprisonment; and the organization and culture of the prison as an institution. They include more specifically:

  • the work and role of the prison officer;
  • staff-prisoner relationships;
  • emotional intelligence in the prison context;
  • the experience of imprisonment as a long-term or life sentence prisoner;
  • the role of the prison in desistance;
  • prison officer selection, training and recruitment;
  • the psychological and emotional effects of prison for staff and prisoners; and
  • the process and effectiveness of resettlement and the reintegration of prisoners into the community.

Selected Publications

Helen is currently working on a book based on a recent study of a high security prison (HMP Whitemoor); this is to be published by Oxford University Press in 2014.


  • Liebling, A., Arnold, H. and Straub, C (in progress) Psychological Survival Revisited: The Experience of Long-Term Imprisonment in Conditions of Maximum Security. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Liebling, A. assisted by Arnold, H. (2004) Prisons and their Moral Performance: A Study of Values, Quality and Prison Life. Oxford University Press.

Book Chapters:

  • Arnold, H. (2008) The Experience of Prison Officer Training , in J. Bennett, B. Crewe and A. Wahidin (eds) Understanding Prison Staff. Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing, pp 399-418.
  • Arnold, H., Liebling, A. and Tait, S. (2007) Prison Officers and Prison Culture , in Y. Jewkes (ed) Handbook on Prisons. Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing, pp. 471-495.
  • Arnold, H. (2005) The Effects of Prison Work , in A. Liebling and S. Maruna (eds) The Effects of Imprisonment. Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing, pp 391-420.
  • Padfield, N., Liebling, A. with Arnold, H. (2003) Discretion and the Release of Life Sentence Prisoners , in L. Gelsthorpe and N. Padfield (eds) Exercising Discretion: Decision-Making in the Criminal Justice System and Beyond. Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing pp. 97-124.

Journal Articles:

  • Liebling, A. and Arnold, H. (2012) Social Relationships between prisoners in a maximum security prison: violence, faith, and the declining nature of trust , Journal of Criminal Justice, 40 (5), 413-424.
  • Arnold, H. and Barnett-Page, C. (2006) Wandsworth Staff Do Jigsaws Blindfolded: An Evaluation of the Wandsworth Staff Development Course using Appreciative Inquiry , Prison Service Journal No. 164, pp. 41-45.
  • Liebling, A. and Arnold, H. (2002) Evaluating Prisons: The Decency Agenda , Prison Service Journal No. 141, pp. 5-9.
  • Liebling, A., Elliott, C. and Arnold, H. (2001) Transforming the Prison: Romantic Optimism or Appreciative Realism? , Criminal Justice Vol 1 (2), pp. 161-180.
  • Elliott, C., Liebling, A. and Arnold, H. (2001) Locating the Energy for Change: Appreciative Inquiry in Two Local Prisons , Prison Service Journal No. 135, pp. 3-9.

Professional Reports:

  • Hallsworth, S., Agnew, S. and Arnold, H. (2013) Gangs and Gang Life in Birmingham: A Report for the West Midlands Police .
  • Liebling, A., Arnold, H. and Straub, C. (2012) An Exploration of Staff-Prisoner Relationships at HMP Whitemoor: Twelve Years On , NOMS Research Website.
  • Liebling, A. and Arnold, H. (2002) Measuring the Quality of Prison Life , Research Findings No. 174.  Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.
  • Padfield, N., Liebling, A. with Arnold, H. (2000) An Exploration of Decision-Making at Discretionary Lifer Panels , Home Office Research Study No. 213. Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.
  • Padfield, N., Liebling, A. with Arnold, H. (2000) Discretionary Lifer Panels An Exploration of Decision-Making Research Findings No. 132. Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.


  • Arnold, H. Prison Officers in preparation for the Handbook on Prisons (Second Edition). Routledge.
  • Liebling, A., Arnold, H., and Straub, C. Prisons Research Beyond the Conventional: Creating Miracles and Staying Sane in preparation for the Handbook of Prison Ethnography. Palgrave.
  • Arnold, H. (in preparation for British Journal of Criminology) Prison Officers: Thought, Talk, Action and Emotion .
  • Arnold, H. and Slaski, M. (in preparation) Emotional Intelligence in Prison Officers .

Professional Memberships

Helen is a member of the British Society of Criminology. She is also a member of The Prison Ethnography Network and the European Society of Criminology Working Group on Prison Life and the Consequences of Imprisonment (since June 2011). She has been a member of the Prison Research Centre at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University since its inauguration in June 2000.