Dr Victoria Knight

Job: Senior Research Fellow

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

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

T: +44 (0)116 2577720

E: vknight@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/hls

 

Personal profile

Dr Victoria Knight PhD MA BA (Hons) is a Senior Research Fellow for the Community and Criminal Justice Division in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University. She has expertise and research experience across two core areas: 1) digital technologies use in prisons and 2) emotion and criminal justice 

Victoria employs a range and mix of methodologies including qualitative and quantitative. Victoria has extensive research experience for engaging ‘hard to reach’ groups in a range of settings; both community and prison. She strives to adopt an ‘appreciate approach’, taking on board people’s situations and difficulties.

Victoria has lead and managed a number of research projects and evaluations with respect to basic skills interventions for young offenders. 

She has completed a range of prison studies including Digital Maturity of Prisons (2020), Public Acceptability of Digital Prisons (2018), Prisoners Watching Prison Films (2020) Prison Arts and Wellbeing (2018), minority ethnic prisoners’ perceptions of the Prison and Probation Service (2004), mass communication consumption in a closed male young offenders’ institution (2000).Her doctoral thesis explored the role of in-cell TV in male adult prisons. Victoria is a member of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Leicester and the editorial board for the Prison Service Journal. Victoria has published her work- Remote Control: Television in Prison  Palgrave Macmillian 2016. Forthcoming books include an edited collection with Dr Jennifer Turner- The Prison Cell and Prisoners Watching Prison with Dr Jamie Bennett. Both published by Palgrave Macmillian. 

Victoria’s teaching covers tutoring young offenders media and communication studies as well as to Media and Cultural Studies undergraduates, research methods and sociological theory for Probation and Police Officers, and media and cultural studies to Applied Criminology and Youth and Community undergraduates. Victoria currently supervises five PhD students.

Victoria is Director of the Prison and Probation Research Hub and convenor of the Emotion and Criminal Justice Cluster at De Montfort University. She also manages impact case studies for Social Work and Social Policy.

Research group affiliations

Prison and Probation Research Hub- Director

Emotion and Criminal Justice Cluster- Convenor

Publications and outputs 

  • Reading Bronson from deep on the inside: An exploration of prisoners watching prison films
    Reading Bronson from deep on the inside: An exploration of prisoners watching prison films Bennett, Jamie; Knight, Victoria This chapter reports on a small scale project screening contemporary British prison films to people serving sentences in British prisons. In particular, this will focus on one of the films, Bronson (UK 2008, Dir. Nicolas Winding Refn), a stylized biography of notorious British prisoner, Charles Bronson. The chapter will set out the theoretical groundwork regarding the representation of prisons in the media and its effects upon society and individuals. It will go on to explain the methodology of the study and summarise the narrative of the film before exploring the responses of the audience. The responses particularly focus on issues of power, resistance and hope. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the consumption of prison media by prisoners and its implications for individuals and social control.
  • Between Tradition and Modernity: Digital Maturity of Judicial Organisations
    Between Tradition and Modernity: Digital Maturity of Judicial Organisations Knight, Victoria; Van De Steene, Steven We discuss the digital transformation in relation to innovation and digital maturity journeys made by prison services
  • Moral and ethical issues of using technology in corrections
    Moral and ethical issues of using technology in corrections Knight, Victoria; Van De Steene, Steven We discuss a framework for developing ethically and morally sensitive implementation of digital technology in prisons
  • Potential Unlocked: Art in Prison
    Potential Unlocked: Art in Prison Carpenter, Benedict; Knight, Victoria Lecture Title: Potential Unlocked. Participants: Ben Carpenter (ADH) and Victoria Knight (HLS) Description: Potential Unlocked is a collaborative project to deliver visual arts workshops in custodial settings in Leicestershire. Our partners are: Leicester NHS Trust, Soft Touch Arts and HMP Leicester. The project has received c£100k of funding from the Arts Council and others. The aim of the project is to use visual arts workshops to enable the envisioning of alternative futures for inmates suffering poor mental health, as a tool for recovery. Carpenter and Knight are leading the research component. Our method is qualitative research via semi-structured interview. Our research objectives are: • To evaluate the impact of the arts on mental health in custodial and community contexts • To develop appropriate frameworks for gauging mental health recovery in custodial and community contexts The project aligns with UN Goal 3, Good Health and Wellbeing, and UN Goal 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
  • Co-Producing Digitally-Enabled Courses that Promote Desistance in prison and Probation Settings
    Co-Producing Digitally-Enabled Courses that Promote Desistance in prison and Probation Settings Knight, Victoria This paper sets out an approach to innovation in criminaljustice settings that gives service users a ‘voice’ through the co-production of digital content designed for services that promote desistance. The authors describe the benefitsandchallenges of involving service users in co-creating mediated digital content within a co-production framework. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • Should the public be listening to prison radio programmes? An exploration of prison radio in Sweden and North America
    Should the public be listening to prison radio programmes? An exploration of prison radio in Sweden and North America Knight, Victoria; Tighe, S. This article reviews a recent project completed by one of the authors. Tighe was successfully awarded a fellowship1 to visit examples of prison radio across Sweden and North America. Tighe visited programmes that could be heard by the general public. This happened after her secondment at the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), as Head of Prison Radio in England and Wales.2 It was her insight and admiration of National Prison Radio which inspired this exploration. Her objective was to find out how the listening public responds to the prisoner experience when they hear it on their normal radio at home or via a website or through social media platforms like Facebook and SoundCloud.
  • Digital transformation for prisons: Developing a needs-based strategy
    Digital transformation for prisons: Developing a needs-based strategy Knight, Victoria; Van De Steene, Steven A digital revolution is upon our penal system – the inevitability of digital transformation is set to shape the way justice is done and experienced. This article identifies some important considerations for digital transformation in prison settings. There are some small yet very promising initiatives in many jurisdictions, and in these early stages of introducing digital technologies for prisoners and staff to use there are still some fundamental barriers. Therefore getting it right within the secure landscape brings further challenges for services. This article argues for prison organizations to develop their digital provision that centres the end user at the heart of their transformation.
  • Digitizing the Prison: The Light and Dark Future
    Digitizing the Prison: The Light and Dark Future Knight, Victoria This article takes a rather unusual form blending an interview with my own reflections on the digitization of our prisons. Its focus is based on an interview with Steven van de Steene1 who is a corrections technology expert. He previously led the design, development and implementation of Belgium’s PrisonCloud2 for the Federal Public Services Justice as IT Director. Heralded as innovative, PrisonCloud has received much attention from other countries, especially those aspiring to develop their own prisons’ digital capability. To date the Belgium’s PrisonCloud implementation still remains one of the only catch all digital provision that prisoners can access, other examples are closely following and different technologies are ready to support this intergrated approach. In this interview Steven draws our attention to important features of digitization identifying the successes and challenges for making this valuable transition within the context of the prison. Steven’s insights provide us with some thoughts on prisons of the future.
  • The Capacity and Capability of Digital Innovation in Prisons: Towards Smart Prisons
    The Capacity and Capability of Digital Innovation in Prisons: Towards Smart Prisons Knight, Victoria; Van De Steene, Steven This article explores the process of innovation in the context of prisons and more specifically the use and availability of digital technologies. Digital technologies attract the innovation label meaning they are heralded as a new frontier. This is especially resonant in the landscape of prisons, as traditionally and typically prisons are sites of deprivation, control and surveillance. We reflect on the capacity and capability of prison services to transform these organisations using digital technology. We also question why digital technologies are viewed as innovative given that they are embedded and accepted features of everyday life. Everyday life has moved from being online to onlife (Hildebrant 2015). Typically, our prisons are not yet digitized spaces especially in stark contrast to the outside community. We reflect on the concept of ‘smart’ technologies and dedicated spaces and networks commonly termed as Smart Cities. We speculate about the value of this phenemona in the context of the prison.
  • The technology of confinement and quasi-therapeutic control: Managing souls with in-cell television
    The technology of confinement and quasi-therapeutic control: Managing souls with in-cell television Knight, Victoria The chapter considers developments in the contemporary technology of the prison and some emerging relations between confinement and therapeutic control. Specifically, the way that in-cell television is employed as a package of care which co-opts prisoners into a therapeutic relationship with television. This is operationalised and rationalised through mechanisms like the incentive and earned privilege system (IEP) in England and Wales. Television is prescribed (by staff and prisoners) to actively distract and minimize the harms of incarceration. In doing so, together staff and prisoners employ television to control the emotional responses to prison life. The culture of the prison has witnessed a shift in the ways social relations (interaction) operate, with many prisoners preferring to stay behind their cell doors. As an instrument of control, television allows staff to deliver what they frame as caring practice. With few other resources to engage prisoners in purposeful activity, the care giving features of television are routinely exploited, in particular providing time and space for prisoners to self-govern their own emotional lives. With the slow onset of other digital technologies that some prisoners are able to access, this chapter ends by considering how prison management may evolve with interactive digital technologies to hand.

Click here to view a full listing of Victoria Knight's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Prisons
  • Prisoners
  • Digital technologies
  • Media audiences
  • Emotion
  • Digital inclusion and literacy
  • Offender education
  • Governance

Areas of teaching

  • Research methods
  • Sociology
  • Media
  • Media and Crime
  • PhD supervision

Qualifications

  • BA (Hons)
  • MA
  • PhD

Courses taught

  • Criminological Research – MA
  • Research and Effective Practice – BA (Hons) Probation- module leader
  • Research and Effective Practice – BA (Hons) Applied Criminology
  • Culture and Subculture- Youth and Community
  • Media and Crime- BA (Hons)- Applied Criminology

Honours and awards

PhD The role of in-cell television in a male adult prison, De Montfort University Leicester 2012.

MA-  Independent Study in Media Studies, De Montfort University Leicester 2001.

BA (Hons) - in Media, English and Politics, De Montfort University Leicester 2000

Membership of external committees

Independent Monitoring Board HMP Leicester 2005-date.

The Prison Service Journal - Editorial Board 2013-date

Advancing Corrections Journal- Editorial Board 2017- date

Projects

Digital Maturity of Prisons: A global survey (2019- date)

Prison Arts and Wellbeing (2018-date) Soft Touch Arts

Public Acceptability of Digital Prisons (2018-date) with Dr Lee Hadlington

Evaluation of Distance Learning in South Wales (2016-17) Prisoner Education Trust

Evaluation of No Cracks (2015- ongoing) Resettlement project run by YMCA funded by Big Lottery

NIHR Programme Development Grant: Exploring approaches to the implementation of embedded structured self-management for diabetes care (2012-2013)

Engaging with the Night Time Economy Community: Finding Ways to Enhance Violence Reduction in Leicester City (2012) for Safer Leicestershire Partnership

Evaluation of Restorative Approaches Project in Children’s Care Homes in Leicestershire (2008-2010) for Leicestershire Youth Offending Service

Engaging 16+ Young Offenders in Education, Training and Employment (2009) A project funded by Leicestershire Youth Offending Service

Recidivism Study of the Provision of Basic Skills for Young Offenders (2007) A project funded by Leicestershire YOT.

Evaluation of Victims and Witnesses Action Group (2005) A project commissioned by Leicester’s Victim and Witness Action Group.

Survey of Personal Safety Provisions and Training for Employees and Service Users in the Leicester City Area (2004) A project commissioned by Leicester’s Victim and Witness Action Group.

Evaluation of the Provision of Basic Skills for Young Offenders (2003- 2006) A project funded by Leicestershire YOT.

Minority Ethnic Prisoners’ Perceptions and Knowledge of the Probation and Prison Services in the East of England (2003). A project commissioned by the East of England Probation Service in order to develop and implement a Race Relations Scheme.

 

Forthcoming events

 

Conference attendance

2019 Knight, V. & Van De Steene Developing an ethical and moral framework for the digital prison Council of Europe Cyprus 

2019 Morris, J & Knight, V. Coproduction of digital technology Technology in Corrections Lisbon, Portugal

2019 Knight, V. & Van De Steene Developing an ethical and moral framework for the digital prison Technology in Corrections Lisbon, Portugal

2018- Knight, V. & Van De Steene, S. ICPA Montreal

2018- Knight, V. & Van De Steene, S. Informing Digital Provision In Prisons: Securing an evidence base to optimise digital opportunities for prisoners and staff  Corrections Research Symposium Prague

2018- invited keynote speaker Developing Digital Strategies: Becoming a Smart Prison Europris ICT Workshop Stockholm

2018- panellist with Van de Steene, S.  The Smart Prison British Society of Criminology event Leicester

2017- Van De Steene, S. & Knight, V.  Smart Prisons: Innovation & Correctional strategy in a digital world ICPA London Conference

2017- invited panellist The e-prison- Criminal Justice Management Conference London- Unilink panel- The Digital Prison with Grahame Hawkings, Former Governor of HMP Isis Andy Wright, National Implementation Lead for Digital Incell / Prisoner Self Service (formally Head of Reducing Reoffending at HMP Wayland) 

2017- invited panellist and keynote speaker- Technology in Corrections Conference Prague

Presentations:

1. Public acceptability and service appetite

2. Innovation in Corrections with Van De Steene, S.

2017- invited panellist and keynote speaker- Public acceptability and service appetite Technology in Corrections Conference Prague 

 

2016- The Role of Self and Emotions Within Qualitative Data Analysis (with Dr Irene Zempi) 7th ESRC Research Methods Festival, 5-7 July 2016, University of Bath invited https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKtAsbEKg30 

 

2016- Digitization and the prison Criminal Justice Management Conference London invited panellist PRISON REFORM – HOW CAN TECHNOLOGY HELP DRIVE REHABILITATION? http://cjm-conference.co.uk/seminars/  

  

2016- Digitizing the Prison: Added value of the use of internet by inmates Europris Workshop ICT in Prisons Sintra Portugal http://www.europris.org/ict-in-prisons/ - invited speaker 

 

2016- What in-cell digital technologies can do for our prisoners and prisons 

Department of Sociology Nottingham Trent University Seminar Series invited speaker 

 

2015- What digital technologies can offer patients and secure hospitals- Technology in a Secure Setting Conference 25th November 2015 Guild Lodge Hospital– invited speaker 

 

2015- What in-cell digital technologies can do for our prisoners and prisons 

THE FUTURE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE MANAGEMENT Conference Dec 2015 University of Salford- invited speaker 

 

2015- Digital Landscape in European and American Corrections - Invited Key Note Speaker EuroPris- Corrections Digital Technology Conference Barcelona http://www.europris.org/technology-in-corrections-challenges-for-the-future/  

 

2016- Concept-formation, Complexity and Social Domains: Investigating Emotion(s) in a PrisonSetting  (with Professor Derek Layder)  9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology University of Leicester 

 

2016- Methods of Emotion Research in Criminology (with Dr Christina Quinlan) 9th International Conference on Social Science Methodology University of Leicester 

 

2016- Digital Technologies in Prison: If there is a will is there is a way? ESC working group Prison Life & Effects of Imprisonment Odense, Denmark 

 

2016- Television: a fissure in the emotional architecture of prison life First Annual Emotion and Criminal Justice Conference De Montfort University with Jenna Ward and Christopher Stamper 

 

2016- The role of self and emotion within qualitative data analysis Ethnography and Crime Symposium University of Birmingham with Irene Zempi 

 

2015- Modus Vivendi: The cell, emotions, social relations and television AAG 2015 Chicago Carceral Geographies IV: Gendered and Embodied Confinement- selected by http://carceralgeography.com/2014/12/24/carceral-geography-at-the-aag-chicago-il-2015/

 2015- Digital Landscape in European and American Corrections

- Invited Key Note Speaker EuroPris- Corrections Digital Technology Conference Barcelona http://www.europris.org/technology-in-corrections-challenges-for-the-future/

 2015- Emotional Methodologies BSA Postgraduate Conference – University of Leicester  Invited Panel Member http://emotionalmethodologies.weebly.com

 2014- Researching Complexity: Social Domains and Emotion in Prison Research at the  6th Midterm Conference on Emotions University of Aegan Rhodes Greece

2014- Boredom in Prison at the  6th Midterm Conference on Emotions University of Aegan Rhodes Greece

2014- A Good night out? Keeping Leicester City Safe- Festival of Ideas, De Montfort University

Journeys Across Media 2012 Time Tells: Temporal Excavations in Film, Theatre and Television: Doing Prison Time or Doing Boredom with In-cell Television: Adult male prisoners’ experiences of television. Reading University

2012 - Governing Souls with In-cell Television- a study into the role of in-cell television in a adult male prison in UK. Doctoral workshop in Brussels. Audiences- Cross Generational Research.

2012 - Doing Prison Time or Doing Boredom with In-cell Television: Adult male prisoners’ experiences of television. Time Tells: Temporal Excavations in Film, Theatre and Television at the Journeys Across Media at Reading University .

2009 - International Learning Conference- Barcelona: Issues of compliance in Education for Young Offenders T-learning as vehicle for in-cell learning in prison- with Jean Hine.

Key research outputs

See publications for up to date list.

Knight, V. & Van De Steene, S. (2020) The digital prison: Towards an ethics of technology in Critical Issues in Criminal Justice Routledge

Turner, J. & Knight, V. & Turner, J. (Eds.) (book under construction due 2020) The Prison Cell Palgrave Macmillan

 

Bennett, J & Knight, V. (2020) Reading Bronson from deep on the inside: An exploration of prisoners watching prison films in The Palgrave Handbook of Incarceration in Popular Culture Hames et al Palgrave Macmillan

 

Morris, J. & Knight, V (2018) Co-Producing Digitally-Enabled Courses that Promote Desistance in Prison and Probation Settings Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

 

Knight,V. & van de Steene, S. (2017) The Capacity and Capability of Digital Innovation in Prisons: Smart Prisons Advancing Corrections Journal Edition 3 https://icpa.ca/advancing-corrections-journal/

 

Van De Steene, S. and Knight, V., (2017) Digital transformation for prisons: Developing a needs-based strategy. Probation Journal64(3), pp.256-268.

http://journals.sagepub.com/toc/prbb/current- Special issue: Technologies of Crime, Control and Change

 

Knight, V. (2014) A modus Vivendi –In-cell Television, Social Relations, Emotion and Safer Custody Prison Service Journal

 Knight, V. (2012) Scaling it down? A Study to Identify How 16 + Young Offenders across Leicestershire Engage with Education, Training or Employment in British Journal of Community Justice Vol. 10:2

Knight. V. (2012) Engaging with the Night Time Economy: Finding Ways to Enhance Violence Reduction Across Leicester City Research Report for Leicester City Council and Leicestershire Police https://www.dora.dmu.ac.uk/handle/2086/9336?show=full

Knight V & Hine J (2009) Learning their Lesson: T-Learning as a Vehicle for In-Cell Learning by Prisoners in The International Journal of Learning – 

Knight V, Kemshall H & Dominey J (2007) Gathering Offender Perceptions of Probation Programmes: Potential, Pitfalls and Limits in British Journal of Community Justice Vol 5 (1) Spring 2007 pp65-77.

Fleming J, Goodman H, Knight V and Skinner A (2006) Delivering Effective Multi-Agency Work for Victims and Witnesses of Crime in Practice Journal Vol 18 (4) pp265-278.

Dominey Jane, Knight Victoria and Kemshall Hazel (2005) The Perception of the Participant on Accredited Programmes in the Probation Service Vista Vol 10 (2) pp72-80.

Knight V (2005) An Investigation into Mass Communication Consumption in a Closed Young Offenders’ Institution Participations Journal Vol 2 (1) www.participations.org.

Knight V & Goodman H (2005) Personal Safety Provisions, Services and Training for Service Providers and Users in Leicester City in Community Safety Journal 4 (1) pp20-32.

Knight V (2004) An Investigation into Minority Ethnic Prisoners’ Knowledge and Perceptions of the Probation and Prison Service in the East of England in Community Safety Journal 3 (2) (Spring 2004) pp23-31.

Current research students

Lucy Baldwin- 1st Supervisor

Ross Little- 2nd Supervisor

Stephen Christopher- 2nd Supervisor

Tina Billington-Hughes- 2nd Supervisor 

 

Externally funded research grants information

 Live Projects:

Prison Arts and Wellbeing – (Jan 2017-2020) CO-PI for Soft Touch Arts and HMP Leicester £15000.00

Previous Projects:

A pilot project evaluation of learning communities in Welsh prisons Prison Education Trust (2016-2018) CO-PI- Prison Education Trust £25000.00

No Cracks Evaluation- YMCA (2015-17) CO-PI Big Lottery £15000.00

An Evaluation of Letter Writing Methodology for Prisoners- ASS project (2015-2016) PI £1000.00

NIHR Programme Development Grant: Exploring approaches to the implementation of embedded structured self-management for diabetes care (2012-2013) CI £40 000.00

 

Engaging with the Night Time Economy Community: Finding Ways to Enhance Violence Reduction in Leicester City (2012) for Safer Leicestershire Partnership PI £15000.00

 

Evaluation of Restorative Approaches Project in Children’s Care Homes in Leicestershire (2008-2010) for Leicestershire Youth Offending Service PI £20000.00

 

Engaging 16+ Young Offenders in Education, Training and Employment (2009) A project funded by Leicestershire Youth Offending Service PI £3000.00

Recidivism Study of the Provision of Basic Skills for Young Offenders (2007) A project funded by Leicestershire YOT. PI £5000.00

 

Evaluation of Victims and Witnesses Action Group (2005) A project commissioned by Leicester’s Victim and Witness Action Group. PI £10000.00

 

Survey of Personal Safety Provisions and Training for Employees and Service Users in the Leicester City Area (2004) A project commissioned by Leicester’s Victim and Witness Action Group. CO-PI £4000.00

 

Evaluation of the Provision of Basic Skills for Young Offenders (2003- 2006) A project funded by Leicestershire YOT. PI £10000.00

 

Minority Ethnic Prisoners’ Perceptions and Knowledge of the Probation and Prison Services in the East of England (2003). A project commissioned by the East of England Probation Service in order to develop and implement a Race Relations Scheme. PI £95000.00

Internally funded research project information

Prisoners’ Readings of Prison Films and Documentaries CO-PI with Dr Jamie Bennett at HMP Gartree £1000.00

Public Acceptability of Digital Technology in Prisons (2017-18) PI £2000.00

 

Professional esteem indicators

Leading scholarship:

Lead Convenor of the Emotion and Criminal Justice Cluster at De Montfort University- annual conferences 2016 & 2018 and seminars

Convenor of Correctional Digital Technologies Research Network- launched 2017 and hosted by ICPA

University of Cambridge’s Prison Life New Frontiers in Prison Research scholarship 2016-Date

Vice-chair for Midlands Branch for British Criminology Society – 3 year tenure September 2016

School of Applied Social Sciences REF Impact Coordinator for UoA 22- Social Work and Social Policy

Co-lead Arts in Prison session for DMU’s Cultural Exchanges annual arts festival

 

Consultations and advisory roles:

Invited to advise on Europris’ ICT platform 2018- Belgium

Invited to advise Inter Development Bank at ICT and Prison Workshop- Washington DC 2018

Invited to advise on Digital Prison for Her Majesty’s Prison and Probations Service (HMPPS and their Innovation Department 2015-Date

Invited to advise corporate digital developers on technology in prison 2015-ongoing

Invited to advise on the Digital Content Group for Her Majesty’s Prison and Probations Service (HMPPS)- setting standards 2017

Consultant to digitization in the design and architecture of a secure hospital

 

Impact activities:

Invited to the School of Batman The Rebirth Of Blackgate Penitentiary https://soundcloud.com/schoolofbatman/the-rebirth-of-blackgate-penitentiary-victoria-knight

Presented evidence on Education in Youth Custody- Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology 2016- Research Briefing

Member of the European Society of Criminology working group Prison Life & Effects of Imprisonment https://effectsofprisonlife.wordpress.com

Case studies

The Birth of the Digital Prison

 

My research and scholarship contributes to ongoing thinking and responses to the the design and implementation of digital technologies in prison settings. 

Victoria Knight

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