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Staff Profile

Dr Deborah Drake

Faculty of Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Social Policy and Criminology


I joined The Open University in 2007, after completing my PhD at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. I originate from Canada and undertook both of my undergraduate degrees and my MA at the University of Saskatchewan. I continue to maintain academic links with colleagues in the Department of Sociology there.

I am a board member of the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR), which is an interdisciplinary, cross-faculty research centre concerned with developing and supporting research projects and papers that think critically about problems of crime and justice. I have a long standing interest and personal affiliation with critical criminological work and together with Prof Reece Walters (QUT, Brisbane) I am a commissioning editor for a book series entitled Critical Criminological Perspectives (Palgrave). The series seeks to capture the original and innovative ways that critical criminological discourses engage with contemporary issues of crime, harm and justice.


PhD, Criminology (University of Cambridge 2007)
MA, Sociology (University of Saskatchewan 2003)
Advanced Certificate, Psychology (University of Saskatchewan 2001)
BA Hons., Sociology (University of Saskatchewan 2001)

Professional affiliations

British Society of Criminology
European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social control

Course development and teaching

My teaching commitments are primarily focused on our criminology curriculum. I was presentation Course Chair of Crime, Order and Social Control (D315) from 2007-2010 and was involved in the development and production of its replacement course Crime and justice (DD301). As part of this course team, I was single author of one chapter ('Punitiveness and Cultures of Control') and co-authored two chapters (on 'Interrogating Criminal Justice' and 'Risk Prediction, Assessment and Management') in the book Criminal Justice: Local and Global (Willan, 2009) on which I was also co-editor. In addition, I was lead contributor on the production of the DVD which accompanies DD301. This DVD, entitled Opium: Cultures, Wars and Markets, was awarded the 2010 British Universities Film and Video Council Award for Teaching through Film.

I was Module Team Chair (production) on Critical criminological perspectives (D867), which is the first online-only postgraduate module to be produced in Criminology at The Open University.

I am currently contributing to a new social sciences first year module, Investigating the social world (DD103). 

I undertake External Examiner duties at:

  • School of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University on their Criminology (BA hons) and Criminology and Psychology (BSc hons) qualifications;
  • School of Law, University of Strathclyde on their Crime and Punishment (ordinary) and Criminology (honours) qualifications.

Research interests

My research has mainly focused on prisons, specifically in the areas of resettlement, maximum-security and long-term imprisonment, and secure settings for children. However, more recently, I have begun to explore community development working in Milton Keynes and in 2011 conducted a small-scale qualitative evaluation of the Milton Keynes Community Mobiliser Service (with colleagues Katy Simmons in the Faculty of Education and Language Studies and Kate Smith in the Faculty of Social Sciences). This work coincides with a developing interest voluntary sector service delivery and community-university-activist collaborations on issues of crime and justice.

I am currently consulting on a MK Citizens Advice Bureau 24-month project that is aiming to establish a MK Advice Network Partnership amongst 13 advice-giving services in Milton Keynes.

You can find more information about my research interests and work on

Current and previous PhD students

I am interested in supervising PhD students in any of my previous or current research areas.

Elizabeth Wilburn (2012-present, PT), registered through the Faculty of Arts, Department of History, co-supervised with Dr Chris Williams
Provisional title: Behind the 'Front Line': Non-confrontational Responses to Youth Crime by the Manchester and Salford City Police Forces 1933-1963

Daniel McCulloch (2011-present, FT), co-supervised with Prof Allan Cochrane and Dr Karim Murji
Provisional title: No Fixed Address: 'Sleeping Rough', Social Exclusion and 'Deviant' Subculture

Nikola Plunkett (2008-present, PT), co-supervised with Dr Gerry Mooney
Provisional title: Public Sector Reform Narratives in the UK

Abigail Rowe (completed, 2009), co-supervised with Prof Yvonne Jewkes and Dr Louise Westmarland
Negotiating Disempowerment: Coping and Social Support in Women's Prisons

Recent publications

A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.


Drake, D. H., Earle, R. and Sloan, J. (2015) International Handbook on Prison Ethnography. Basingstoke: Palgrave (forthcoming).

Drake, D.H. (2012) Prisons, Punishment and the Pursuit of Security. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (Winner of the British Society of Criminology 2013 Book Prize.)

Drake, D., Muncie, J. & Westmarland, L. (eds.) (2009) Criminal Justice: Local and Global. Buckingham: Open University Press & Cullompton: Willan Publishers.

Peer-reviewed articles

Drake, D.H., Fergusson, R. & Briggs, D.B. (2014) ‘Hearing new voices: Re-viewing Youth Justice Policy through Practitioners’ Relationships with Young People,’ Youth Justice, April, 14 (1): 22-39.

Drake, D.H. & Henley, A. (2014) ‘“Victims” Versus “Offenders” in British Political Discourse: The Construction of a False Dichotomy,’ The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 53 (2): 141-157.

Drake, D.H. (2014) ‘Researching Prisoner Experiences with Prison Officers: An Action Research Inspired Approach,’ Action Research, March, 12 (1): 94-109.

Drake, D.H., Simmons, K. & Smith, K. (2014) 'Building Communities Collaboratively: The Milton Keynes Community Mobiliser Service' Community Development Journal, 49 (2): 311-326.

Drake, D. & Harvey, J. (2013) 'Performing the Role of Ethnographer: Processing and Managing the Emotional Dimensions of Prison Research,' International Journal of Social Research Methodology, published online.

Drake, D. (2011) 'The 'Dangerous Other' in Maximum-Security Prisons.' Criminology and Criminal Justice, September 2011, 11, (4), pp. 367–382.

Butler, M. & Drake, D. (2007) 'Reconsidering Respect: Its Role in Her Majesty's Prison Service.' The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 46, no. 2, pp. 115–127.

Other Publications

Drake, D.H. and Earle, R. (2013) ‘On the Inside: Prison Ethnography Around the Globe,’ Criminal Justice Matters, 91 (1): 12-13.

Sloan, J. and Drake, D.H. (2013) ‘Emotional Engagements: On Sinking and Swimming in Prison Research and Ethnography,’ Criminal Justice Matters, 91 (1): 24-25.

Book chapters

Drake, D. & Gunn, B. (2012) 'Convict Criminology.' In E. McLaughlin and J. Muncie (Eds.) Sage Dictionary of Criminology (3rd edition). London: Sage.

Drake, D., Muncie, J. & Westmarland, L. (2009) 'Interrogating Criminal Justice.' In Drake, D., Muncie, J. & Westmarland, L. (eds). Criminal Justice: Local and Global. Buckingham: Open University Press & Cullompton: Willan Publishers.

Drake, D.(2009) 'Punitiveness and Cultures of Control.' In Drake, D., Muncie, J. & Westmarland, L. (eds). Criminal Justice: Local and Global. Buckingham: Open University Press & Cullompton: Willan Publishers.

Drake, D. & Muncie, J. (2009) 'Risk Prediction, Assessment and Management.' In Drake, D., Muncie, J. & Westmarland, L. (eds). Criminal Justice: Local and Global. Buckingham: Open University Press & Cullompton: Willan Publishers.

Last updated: 1 July 2014