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Dr Nicholas Flynn

Job: Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Research group(s): Community and Criminal Justice

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 250 6466




Personal profile

Before pursuing an academic career, Nick worked as a researcher and as a freelance research consultant within the area of criminal justice including as the deputy director of the Prison Reform Trust between 1994 and 2000, Most recently, Nick's research has focused on crime and place, processes of criminal desistance, imprisonment, public punitiveness and probation in European contexts.

Featured publications

Flynn, N. (2014) 'Advancing emotionally intelligent justice within public life and popular culture', Theoretical Criminology (18)3: 354-370.

Scott, D. and Flynn, N. (2014) Prisons and Punishment: The essentials. London: Sage.

Flynn, N. (2012) Criminal Behaviour in Context: Space, place and desistance from crime. London: Routledge.

Flynn, N. (1998) Introduction to Prisons and Imprisonment. Winchester: Waterside Press.

Research group affiliations

  • Criminology Research Group

Publications and outputs

  • Prison Education: Beyond Review and Evaluation
    Prison Education: Beyond Review and Evaluation Flynn, Nick; Higdon, Rachel Delta Much is made of the potential of prison education to impart knowledge and skills and transform life chances. Prison education is tasked with delivering qualifications and effecting recidivism. In assessing current arrangements for the delivery of prison education and reviews and evaluations of its impact on recidivism in England and Wales, this article argues that prison education should be an inclusive activity. Specifically, prison education should focus less on individual development and more on whole class ‘domains,’ in particular, knowledge of (re)integration. Research, policy, and practice on civic/citizenship education provide models in this regard. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Prison Security Levels
    Prison Security Levels Flynn, Nick
  • Evaluation of Distance-learning Communities in Welsh Prisons (also known as the Welsh Prisons Project)
    Evaluation of Distance-learning Communities in Welsh Prisons (also known as the Welsh Prisons Project) Flynn, Nick Drawing on theoretical perspectives on adult education and distance-learning, and also literature on prison environments and regimes, this report presents the views of prisoners and prison education staff on initiatives intended to develop distance-learning communities and cultures in five Welsh prisons. Given significant differences in the nature of the populations they contain and the purposes they serve, the report finds that for distance learning communities to develop, due consideration must be taken of regimes and organisational arrangements that may actively restrict the development of higher-level learning in prisons.
  • Prisons & punishment: the essentials.
    Prisons & punishment: the essentials. Flynn, Nick; Scott, David
  • Advancing emotionally intelligent justice within public life and popular culture
    Advancing emotionally intelligent justice within public life and popular culture Flynn, Nick
  • Community Justice Files 31
    Community Justice Files 31 Flynn, Nick
  • The Economic, social and political context of the local community approach to integrated offender management: Theory and practice, rhetoric and reality.
    The Economic, social and political context of the local community approach to integrated offender management: Theory and practice, rhetoric and reality. Flynn, Nick
  • Criminal behaviour in context.
    Criminal behaviour in context. Flynn, Nick

Click here for a full lisiting of Nick Flynn's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Prisons and punishment
  • Crime and place
  • Crime and unemployment
  • Criminal desistance
  • Multi-agency working and partnership
  • Rehabilitation policy and practice
  • Education in prisons

Areas of teaching

Criminology and Sociology


  • BA
  • MA
  • PhD
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education

Courses taught


  • Crime and Punishment in Contemporary Society
  • Crime in Late Modernity
  • Crime Risk and Community Safety
  • Introduction to Criminology
  • Theory, Policy and Practice
  • Restorative Justice
  • Critical Criminology


  • Managing Partnerships and Multi-agency Working


  • Rehabilitation and Reintegration

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Member of British Society of Criminology


Strategic Targeting of Recidivism through Evaluation and Monitoring (STREAM). European Commission and National Offender Management Service. Start date: January 2013. Duration: 24 months. Includes research and development of evaluation guidance and evaluation of the implementation of the European Probation Rules (EPR).

Steps 2 Resettlement. European Commission and NOMS.Development of resettlement and aftercare practices informing the transfer of foreign national prisoners.

Conference attendance

  • Strategic Targetting of Recidivism Through Evaluation and Monitoring (STREAM) workshop 2014, The Hague, The Netherlands.
  • Emotion, Morality and Public Punitiveness: US, UK and Nordic issues of comparison and contrast, Laurea University, Helsinki, Finland, 2013.
  • Grass Roots of Civic Participation, an Unlevel Playing Field, International Week 2011, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Vantaa, Finland
  • Social Exclusion and Re-offending, International Week 2010, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Vantaa, Finland
  • Place and Criminal Desistance: a life course perspective, British Society of Criminology Conference, University of Huddersfield, 2008
  • Inspection and Complaints Systems in Russian Prisons. Russian Ministry of Justice and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Moscow, 1998.

Consultancy work

  • 2003 Evaluation of Hertfordshire Enterprise Alliance SRB II Scheme, The National Probation Service, Hertfordshire
  • 2002 Casing It Out: why it makes sense to employ ex-offenders, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
  • 2002 Employers and Offenders: reducing crime through work and rehabilitation: the change agenda, CIPD
  • 2001 Employing People with Conviction: a good practice guide on the employment of people with criminal records, CIPD and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)
  • 1994 Maximising Employment Opportunities for Offenders in Derbyshire, Derbyshire Training and Enterprise Council (TEC) and Derbyshire Probation Service
  • 1994 Working It Out: employment guidance and employer involvement in prisons, South Thames TEC and HMP Belmarsh
  • 1993 Missing Links: partnerships between TECs and HM Prison Service, Lancashire West TEC and East Lancashire TEC
  • 1991 Bridging the Gap: skills, training and barriers to employment, Bristol City Council,
  • 1991 The Hidden Workforce: employing ex-offenders – recruitment, policy and practice, a national survey. British Gas and Northern Foods.
  • 1989 Releasing the Potential: maximising employment opportunities for local people in Stonebridge, Brent, London. Bellway Urban Renewals and Brent Council

Current research students

Nick is currently second supervisor to three PhD students studying:

  • barriers to social justice within mental health practice for young offenders;
  • mentoring schemes in prisons;
  • and crime and criminality from the perspectives of young people.

Professional esteem indicators

  • Membership of Editorial Boards:British Journal of Community Justice
  • Project Refereeing information. The Economic and Social Research Conuncil (ESRC).
  • Journal Refereeing information: Body and Society Journal, Sage
  • Other Reviewing Activities:Reviewer of book proposals for Palgrave Macmillan

Case studies

General Editor’s Introduction to Flynn, N. (2010) Criminal Behaviour in Context: space, place and desistance from crime. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.

Nick Flynn’s excellent book is an example of the sorts of research being undertaken in UK universities which is at the very cutting edge of explorations into desistance from crime.

Using qualitative data from interviews with 30 male prisoners, backed up a secondary data analysis of the communities from which they came and to which they returned following their prison sentences, Flynn is able to explore the extent to which “a shared experience of spatial disadvantage in the city shapes offending behaviour”. Notions of ‘space’ and ‘place’ – appropriately embedded in a nuanced consideration of the work of geographers such as David Harvey, Mike Davis, David Massey and Nigel Thrift – are used to develop insights into desistance from crime which are truly novel and which mark this out as a key reference point for future work in this area.

Flynn presents us with conclusions which hint at the complexities and difficulties facing not just those who wish to desist from crime, but those employed to assist them in this journey; the documented failures to secure decent jobs and accommodation indicates, as Flynn remarks, that desistance and reintegration are hugely shaped by where offenders live.

Of course, where they end up living reflects a larger system of reproduction (namely capitalism) which is both highly unstable (in that resources can be moved quickly and without concern about the social consequences of such a move) and which generally locates groups of people differentially according to the availability of these (and other) resources which are key in assisting desistance.

Uneven geographic development is an accepted and systematic outcome of those very social relations and socio-economic processes associated with modern capitalism. In Flynn’s analysis, it follows that reliance on governments to facilitate effective economic and social interventions for those ex-prisoners living in those neighbourhoods blighted by high levels of structurally-induced unemployment and homelessness is unrealistic.

Nick Flynn’s book will make an immediate and lasting impact on debates and theorising about desistance from crime and for this reason in particular we are delighted to include it within the series.

Stephen Farrall,
February 2010