Laura is the course leader for Criminology and Criminal Justice and Criminology and Sociology at BA level, and teaches across the undergraduate and postgraduate Criminology programmes. Laura is a leading UK scholar in the area of d/Deaf prisoners, receiving her PhD in 2017, before going on to publish her findings in a number of peer reviewed journals. In 2017, she was awarded Prison Service Journal outstanding article of the year, and has since been interviewed on numerous local and national TV/radio shows about her work. Laura facilitates a student/prisoner debating programme at HMP Kirkham, and has carried out post doctoral research in a number of areas.
Laura is the deputy lead for the prisons strand of the Criminal Justice Partnership, working alongside other scholars with similar research interests across the University. See: https://www.uclan.ac.uk/research/explore/themes/criminal-justice-partnership.php
Since completing her PhD, Laura has been focusing on increasing awareness about the significant issues experienced by d/Deaf people in prison. She has presented her work to the PPO and the Parole Board, as well as gaining funding to create a 'Think Deaf' document which was sent to all prisons in England and Wales, outlining the adjustments that they must make in order to meet the needs of this vulnerable cohort. After receiving the Prison Service Journal award in 2017, Laura's work began to receive local media attention, including an appearance on BBC Radio Lancashire, and most recently a significant segment on BBC2's See Hear in 2019.
Laura has completed post-doctoral research with members of the Psychosocial Research Unit, exploring the impact of theatre based interventions with vulnerable groups such as prisoners and young offenders. She has also carried out research with her colleague Dr Abi Stark, looking at the value of a debating programme with prisoners and prison officers, the findings from which they are currently writing up.
Laura runs an annual prisoner/student learning programme called Debating Differences, which involves final year Law and Criminology students and prisoners from HMP Kirkham, who come together to debate a number of issues in contemporary society. The purpose of this scheme is to break down barriers, to increase communication skills and confidence levels, and to teach participants how to put together arguments and participate in structured debates.
Laura supervises student projects at undergraduate, masters and doctorate level. She has been a reviewer for a number of journals and has experience examining PhDs.
- PhD entitled 'Silent Punishment: The experiences of d/Deaf prisoners', University of Central Lancashire, 2017
- MA Criminal Justice Studies, University of Leeds, 2013 [distinction]
- Ba (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Leeds, 2010
- Prison Service Journal Outstanding Article of the Year 2017.
- This was voted for by the Journal’s Editorial Board, who commented:
- “The editorial board of the Prison Service Journal is proud to announce that Dr Laura Kelly, Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Central Lancashire, has won the Prison Service Journal Prize for Outstanding Article 2017. Dr Kelly’s article ‘Suffering in Silence: The unmet needs of d/Deaf prisoners’ appeared in edition 234. The article is a sensitive and in depth study based upon interviews with d/Deaf prisoners in order to reveal their experiences and illuminate the often hidden harms they face. This research focuses on people who are often overlooked and whose needs are not clearly understood. “By giving voice to d/Deaf people in prison, Dr Kelly does much to build understanding, identify practical steps that might be taken to ameliorate the pains of imprisonment, and challenge the causes of cultural and social marginalisation. This article is a significant and important contribution that deserves to be read by those who are involved in prisons.”
- d/Deaf prisoners
- Education in prisons
- Prisoner experiences
- Research methods
- Arts based programmes and methods
- Howard League for Penal Reform
- European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control