Neil Cornish


Personal profile



I am currently a Lecturer in Criminology at Leeds Trinity University. My main research focus is on the management of vulnerability in prison, vulnerable prisoner masculinities and prison violence. I was awarded my PhD by the University of Glasgow in June 2022, an ESRC funded collaborative scholarship titled “Vulnerability, decision-making and the protection of prisoners in Scotland and England”. I have previously worked in a number of Research Associate roles, including for the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), University of Northampton and Prison Reform Trust.

Areas of Research Focus

Vulnerable Prisoners

I have a longstanding interest in the management of vulnerability in prison, specifically in terms of decision-making process of prisoners who request re-location to vulnerable prisoner units (VPUs) and of the staff who assess suitability for protective housing. Consequently, I am interested in the regimes, levels of safety and hierarchies formed amongst prisoners on VPUs, the likelihood of a return to mainstream populations and the impact of having lived in VPUs and protective housing both within custody and beyond.   

Post Prison Re-integration

As a former prisoner with lived experience of the penal system and re-integration, I am especially interested in the barriers faced by people leaving custody and personal qualities required to navigate these challenges and move forward into rewarding employment, study or volunteering.

Previous Experience

Prior to teaching, I worked as a researcher at the University of Northampton on a project funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FIMT) which investigated identification and support provided to Veteran’s in the Criminal Justice Systems of both England and Wales and Scotland. Between 2010-2015, I was employed as a Research Associate at Prison Reform Trust where I co-authored publications, including Social Care or Systematic Neglect, investigating resettlement support provided to older prisoners and Out for Good, which highlighted the importance of enabling prisoners to take responsibility for decisions impacting their resettlement. In addition, I have been involved in research projects with University of Glasgow, University of Leicester and Ormiston Children and Families Trust. The focus of these projects has been varied, including the Impact of Covid on Marginalised groups in Scotland, an evaluation of Integrated Offender Management schemes in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and setting up of a women’s criminal justice diversionary project in Ipswich.


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Vulnerability, Decision Making and the protection of prisoners in Scotland and England , University of Glasgow

30 Sept 201624 Jun 2024

Award Date: 24 Jun 2022

External positions

23/02/24, Advisory Board Member, Elevate CJS programme, Criminal Justice Alliance

23 Feb 2024 → …

Longford Scholar, Prison Outreach worker, The Longford Trust

21 Dec 2023 → …


  • H Social Sciences
  • Prison Masculinity, Vulnerable Prisoner Masculinities, Management of Vulnerability in prison, Prison violence, Mental health support in prison, Veterans in the CJS, Suicide in prison, Deaths in Custody