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  4. Katherine Albertson

Dr Katherine Albertson PhD, BA (Hons), PgCert, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Criminology


Katherine joined the team at the Department of Law and Criminology in 2014. For eight years previous to this, Katherine worked as a Research Fellow, conducting fieldwork in over 30 different prisons, including women's and high security establishments and with offenders on license in the community.

  • About

    A highlight for Katherine as a qualitative researcher was to conduct a small desistance study with ex-offenders in the Sheffield and Doncaster area as she was able to collate ex-offender narratives using an in-depth life history interview technique with participants. Katherine has published in the area of using this research methodology with vulnerable groups. Katherine is currently engaged in conducting three research and evaluation projects.

    Her main duties include

    • preparing and delivering teaching materials
    • developing and updating modules
    • supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students
    • providing academic and pastoral support
    • bidding for external funding for research and evaluation projects
    • managing research project teams
  • Teaching

    Department Of Law and Criminology

    Social Sciences and Humanities

  • Research

    An evaluation of the Right Turn veteran-specific recovery initiative

    Katherine is currently project managing the Right Turn 5 site pilot evaluation, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust. Katherine is managing a team of researchers, focusing on establishing the impact on veterans engaging in this Addaction-run veteran-specific recovery initiative. Click for more details.

    Identity Transitions: The intersection of recovery, desistance and military narrative identities research

    Katherine is involved in conducting this exploratory research study, funded by the British Academy/ Leverhulme grant scheme. This study will investigate the potential relationships between identity transition, offending and substance misuse, through the desistance and recovery narratives of ex-military service participants engaging in recovery support services. A life history narrative methodology will be employed, in order to investigate participants' pre-enlistment life, military life and post military life with regard to their reflections on significant life events impacting on their engagement, continuation and desistance from offending.

    The UK Life in Recovery Survey 2015 project

    Katherine managed the first national UK survey of addiction recovery experiences, a project which attracted over 800 completed surveys.

    Identity change and engagement with cultural, creative-arts-based activities

    An area of research and theoretical interest is the impact of engagement with cultural, arts-based activities for offenders on their desistance (from criminal lifestyles) trajectories. This is due to having been involved in a number of evaluations of these activities, including an evaluation of the Writers in Prison Network Special Projects; the Melting Pot Creative Writing Project in a Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder Unit; an evaluation of the Prison Radio Association’s activities; an evaluation of Inside Job Productions project, where women in prison engaged with video-production training and an evaluation of the West Midlands and an evaluation of a Toe-by-Toe Reading Scheme. Katherine has focused on conducting interviews with a service user–as-expert approach. Katherine have been in a position to disseminate the ‘offender voice’ with regard to what they themselves see as being the significant impacts on their lives in their own words. This work has resulted in a recent publication in this area.

    Katherine is also involved in the international interdisciplinary academic community with regard to this work area, having recently been involved in arranging an international visit from the Dean of the Humanities and Social Sciences from the University of Split to Sheffield Hallam University. Katherine has also been involved with organising an event in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University entitled: Wellbeing beyond GDP: The value of humanities, the arts and social science in forming and informing responses to contemporary social change, which has attracted international interest.

    Domestic and Sexual Violence- Gender-specific work theme

    Katherine has conducted work on examining the efficacy of domestic violence policy initiatives in South Yorkshire – through Project Management and fieldwork duties on an evaluation of South Yorkshire's Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Services (IDVAS) in 2008 and a Progress Assessment of South Yorkshire's Specialist Domestic Violence Court Initiative in 2011. Katherine was also involved in a piece of consultation work with stakeholders from the City of Leicester, designed to support the development of a Sexual Violence Strategy in partnership with the Safer Leicester Partnership.

    Health and Justice

    A further area of interest has been around the issue of health and wellbeing and the criminal justice system more generally. Katherine has been involved in an evaluation of a Health and Wellbeing Service within the probation service and managed the evaluation of a Breakthrough BME Prison In-Reach Drugs referral project at HMP/YOI Doncaster. In 2008 and 2009, Katherine conducted an evaluation of the Content and Delivery of the Student Workbook for RSPH Level 2 Award in Understanding Health Trainer Champions in Prisons and the Wider Community and a consultation ensuring the appropriateness of the workbook for use in the prison setting. Katherine has also worked on a project examining the mother and baby unit provision in the female estate, resulting in a recent publication.

  • Publications

  • Other activities

    Serving on the Trustee Board of the Sheffield Alcohol Support Service (SASS) who have been providing community alcohol services in Sheffield since 1978

    Member of the Revolving Doors/ Lankelley Chase research network on severe and multiple disadvantage

    On the steering group for Sheffield Hallam University's Social Justice Week initiative. A joint initiative between the Sheffield Hallam University's Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice and the Department of Humanities to set up a week of events around the theme of social justice. Social Justice Week (2015) was a great success and planning for Social Justice Week 2016 has already begun

  • Postgraduate supervision

    Assessing the impact of the Recovery Academy model on recovery capital and wellbeing
    Exploring how the Doctrine of 'Reasonableness' is operationalised in criminal trials
    Mapping individual recovery pathways from problem alcohol use in the context of an emerging therapeutic landscape of recovery and assessing differences by gender
    Recovery capital: The role of social networks and community support in addictions recovery and desistance from crime
    Exploring the impact of education and training on desistance from crime and recovery from substance misuse

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