David Wilson

Professor of Criminology, Centre for Applied Criminology

School of Social Sciences

Current Activity

Vice Chair Howard League for Penal Reform; Vice President New Bridge; Chair The Friends of Grendon; Editor in Chief, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice.

Professor David Wilson is a regular contributor to TV and radio. You can watch him in action on his latest series 'Killer Psychopaths' from Tuesday 9 February 9pm on Channel 5. 

Read more on Killer Psychopaths on our blog

Areas of Expertise
  • All aspects of prisons and imprisonment
  • Murder and serial murder
  • Media representations of crime and punishment

David Wilson pursued a successful career as prison governor at several prisons including Wormwood Scrubs, Grendon and Woodhill, where he designed and managed two units for the country’s 12 most disruptive prisoners.

Prior to joining Birmingham City University, he was Head of Prison Officer and Operational Training for the Prison Service.

He is widely published on the criminal justice system (CJS) generally and on prisons specifically and is the editor of The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice.

A regular contributor to TV and radio, he was named top public criminologist for 2008 by the Times Higher Education Supplement (2009) and has also chaired the Commission on English Prisons Today, whose president is Cherie Blair. In that capacity he made official visits to Scotland, New York and Norway in 2008. In 2012 he was made a National Teaching Fellow of England and Wales.

David is the Vice Chair of the Howard League for Penal Reform, the Vice President of New Bridge and the Chair of the Friends of Grendon.  His most recent book is Looking for Laura: Public Criminology and Hot News (Winchester: Waterside Press). His latest book is Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First female Serial Killer – also published by Waterside Press, and his next book Pain and Retribution: A History of British Prisons from 1066 to the Present will be published by Reaktion Books in 2013.


MA (Hons); PhD (Cantab)


British Society of Criminology


All aspects of prisons and imprisonment, murder and serial murder.


A CV including publications is available on request.

Media Work

David Wilson is one of the University’s dedicated team of trained media champions, and can comment on a range of subjects including:

  • Murder and serial murder
  • prisons and imprisonment

To arrange a media interview, please contact Birmingham City University Press Office on 0121 331 6738, 07967 271532,
email press@bcu.ac.uk or via Twitter @BCUPressOffice

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