Positive Criminology

Positive Criminology, led by Cristiana Viana Cardoso and Shona Robinson-Edwards brings together and helps develop the work of several researchers already active in this emerging field. Over the last few decades, criminology has seen a new movement akin to that of Positive Psychology.

Centre for Applied Criminology Positive Criminology Page Image 350x263 - Man in silhouette stood in a doorway Instead of the more orthodox criminological focus - which examines the deficits of the ‘criminal’ and the aetiology of crime - Positive Criminology considers what might prevent or help people move away from crime. By considering crime and ‘the criminal’ from a strengths-based approach, alternative strategies can be explored and developed.

Such strategies help policy makers and criminal justice practitioners work with people in a constructive way and ultimately reduce the risk of further offending or prevent it altogether. 

Positive Criminology has begun to gather momentum. This cluster dedicated to Positive Criminology hopes to help accelerate interest in this arena. It brings together researchers to develop new knowledge in working closely with people convicted of criminal offences and those affected by their crimes - family members, victims, practitioners, and policy makers. 

By working in collaboration with criminal justice partners such as the Police, National Probation Service/Community Rehabilitation Services, the Prison Service, and third sector agencies, academics affiliated with this cluster will engage in research that tests and explores the validity and effectiveness of interventions and approaches in practice.

Researchers will explore criminological phenomena from a wide range of perspectives. However, with the aim of preventing future harm, the voices of victims, people with offending histories and the communities in which they live, are perhaps the most important perspectives. It is their voices that will be central to the work of the Positive Criminology Cluster. 


  1. Contribute to knowledge and policy development that reduces crime and prevents future harm in areas such as desistance, rehabilitation/re-integration; risk management planning; restorative justice; therapeutic jurisprudence; recovery from substance use.
  2. Develop and strengthen partnerships with practitioners and criminal justice agencies.
  3. Provide a platform for groups within the criminal justice system whose voices are rarely heard.
  4. Embed research into the student learning experience.

Our researchers have explored a range of topics and themes, including religion, empowerment and support networks as well as the role of befriending in supporting prisoners. For more information on publications and projects, please check their individual profiles.