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Dr Keir Irwin-Rogers

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Professional biography

Before joining The Open University, I spent 10 years with the University of Sheffield, studying for a BA in History, an MA in International Criminology, an MA in Law, and a PhD in Criminal Justice. I am studying part-time with the OU for a BA in Economics. 

In January 2017, I joined the Department of Social Policy and Criminology at the Open University, supporting the development of the university's new BA(Hons) Criminology. 

Research interests

My current research concerns the happiness, health and wellbeing of children and young people, with a particular focus on reducing various forms of social harm and interpersonal violence in children and young people's lives.

Between January 2021-January 2024, I worked as a Co-Investigator on a three-year, ESRC-funded project entitled, 'Public Health, Youth and Violence Reduction'. The project aimed to better understand the causes of violence between young people and advance our understanding of effective ways to prevent such violence.

Prior to this, I conducted research and published on the subjects of sentencing, community sanctions and young people's use of social media.


Irwin-Rogers, K.Billingham, L., Fraser, A., Gillon, F., McVie, S. and Newburn, T. (forthcoming) Preventing Violence: The Past, Present and Future of the Public Health Approach. Bristol: Bristol University Press. 

Billingham, L. and Irwin-Rogers, K. (2022) Against Youth Violence: A Social Harm Perspective. Bristol: Bristol University Press. 

Selection of articles

Billingham, L. and Irwin-Rogers, K. (2021) The terrifying abyss of insignificance: Marginalisation, mattering and violence between young people. Onati Socio-Legal Series. 11(5): 1222-1249.

Irwin-Rogers, K., de-Lappe, J. and Phoenix, J. (2020) Anti-social shifts in social policy and serious violence between young people: Evidence from the cross-party Youth Violence Commission. British Journal of Community Justice. 16(2/3): 4-27.

Irwin-Rogers, K. (2020) Crime, drugs and consumer capitalism: mind the trap. Sociology Review. 29(3): 18-22.

Irwin-Rogers, K. (2019) Illicit Drug Markets, Consumer Capitalism, and the Rise of Social Media: A Toxic Trap for Young People. Critical Criminology. 27: 591-610.

Irwin-Rogers, K. and Roberts, J. V. (2019) Swimming against the tide: The Suspended Sentence Order in England & Wales 2000-2018. Law & Contemporary Problems. 82(1): 137-162.

Irwin-Rogers, K. (2018) Racism and Racial Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System: Exploring the views of men serving sentences of imprisonment. Justice, Power, Resistance. 2(2): 243-266.

Irwin-Rogers, K. and Harding, S. (2018) Challenging the orthodoxy on pupil gang involvement: When two social fields collide. British Educational Research Journal. 44(3): 463-479. 

Irwin-Rogers, K. (2017) Legitimacy on licence: Why and how legitimacy matters. The Howard Journal of Crime & Justice. 56(1): 53-71. 

Irwin-Rogers, K. (2017) Staff-resident relationships in Approved Premises: What a difference a door makes. Probation Journal. 64(4): 388-404. 

Selection of book chapters

Irwin-Rogers, K. and Reeves, C. (2019) Post-prison Residential Supervision. Routledge Companinion to Rehabilitative Work in Criminal Justice. Abingdon: Routledge.

Irwin-Rogers, K., Decker, S., Stephenson, S., Rostami, A. and van Hellemont, E. (2019) Street gangs and urban violence in Europe. In I. Vojnovic, A. Pearson, G. Asiki, G. Deverteuil and A. Adriana (Eds.) Handbook of Global Urban Health: The Metropolis and Modern Life. New York: Routledge. Pp: 484-508.

Irwin-Rogers, K., Densley, J. and Pinkney, C. (2018) Social media and Gang Violence. In J. L. Ireland, P. Birch and C. A. Ireland (Eds.) International Handbook on Aggression. Abingdon: Routledge.

Irwin-Rogers, K. and Perry, T. W. (2015) Sentencing Domestic Burglary. In J. V. Roberts (Ed.) Exploring Sentencing Practice in England and Wales. London: Palgrave.

Roberts, J. V. and Irwin-Rogers, K. (2015) Overview of sentencing patterns and historical trends in sentencing. In J. V. Roberts (Ed.) Exploring Sentencing Practice in England and Wales. London: Palgrave.

Research reports

Irwin-Rogers, K. and Fraser, A. (2021) A Public Health Approach to Violence Reduction. Research in Practice Briefing Paper.

Irwin-Rogers, K., Muthoo, A. and Billingham, L. (2020) Youth Violence Commission: Final Report. 

Irwin-Rogers, K. and Shuter, M. (2017) Fairness in the Criminal Justice System: What's race got to do with it? London, Catch22.

Irwin-Rogers, K. and Pinkney, C. (2017) Social Media as a Catalyst and Trigger for Youth Violence. London, Catch22.

Irwin-Rogers, K. (2016) Safer Schools: Keeping gang culture outside of the school gates. London, Catch22.

Conference Papers:

  • Drug prohibition, Inequality and Consumer Capitalism: A Toxic Trap, University of Sheffield, School of Law, Centre for Criminological Research (April 2018, Sheffield)
  • Serious Youth Violence, Drugs and Social Media. Youth Justice Convention 2017 (November 2017, Leicester)
  • Exploring the harms of the war on drugs for young people involved in drug distribution: a social media lens. European Society of Criminology Annual Conference (September 2017, Cardiff)
  • Serious youth violence and online social media, Youth Justice Board Forum (November 2016, Middlesex University)
  • Fairness and legitimacy across the criminal justice system, The Ministry of Justice (September 2016, Ministry of Justice, London)
  • Social Media and Serious Youth Violence, National Police Chiefs' Council, Open Source Conference (October 2016, Leicester)
  • Gang Violence and Child Sexual Exploitation, Home Office Quarterly Forum on Ending Gang Violence and Exploitation (July, 2016, Home Office, London)
  • Gangs and Social Media, Metropolitan Police, Trident Unit, National Gangs Policing Conference (October 2016, London)
  • Serious Youth Violence, County Lines and Online Social Media, European Society of Criminology Working Group on Gangs (June 2016, Gothenburg, Sweden)
  • Supporting care leavers involved in gangs, National Leaving Care Benchmarking Forum (September 2015, Birmingham)
  • Legitimacy and community sanctions, European Society of Criminology Working Group on Community Sanctions (June 2015, The University of Sheffield)
  • Beyond the prison gate: Exploring licencees’ perceptions of legitimacy, Annual Criminology PhD conference (September, 2013, The University of Oxford). 

Impact and engagement

During 2017-2020, I was lead criminologist to the cross-party Youth Violence Commission, taking evidence during expert panel sessions and providing academic support for its interim and final reports. This work, among other things, led me to submit an Impact Case Study for REF2021.

Based on the findings of my research on the links between young people’s activity on social media and serious youth violence, I engaged in a range of impact and engagement activities, including:

  • A presentation to the Home Office’s Ending Gang Violence and Exploitation Quarterly Forum. The workshop was attended by delegates from a range of backgrounds across the state, VCSE and private sectors.
  • Invited to brief MPs Chuka Umunna, David Lammy and Vicky Foxcroft before a Parliamentary Chamber debate on Gangs and Serious Youth Violence.
  • A presentation at the annual Youth Justice Convention
  • A presentation at a Youth Justice Board Forum event on serious youth violence (University of Middlesex).  
  • Invited to meet with Google’s Public Affairs team to discuss appropriate responses from social media providers to breaches of their community guidelines.
  • A presentation at the National Police Chiefs’ Council conference on Open Source Data.
  • Invited to present and be a panel member at a Public Policy Exchange Event on Ending Gang Violence & Exploitation.
  • A presentation at Bristol City Hall for a Catch22 organised event on social media and youth violence.
  • Delivered a conference paper at the annual Eurogang conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, attended by academics from across Europe and the USA, as well as professionals in Sweden working with gang-involved young people.
  • A presentation at a MET police conference on gangs and serious youth violence.
  • Delivered training sessions on gangs and youth violence to social workers, independent reviewing officers, youth offending team workers and foster carers.

Based on the findings of my research on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic disproportionate representation in the criminal justice system:

  • Invited to run dissemination workshops in HMP Wandsworth and HMP Thameside, which involved presenting main findings to management-level staff, as well as prison officers and prison chaplains.
  • Presented at an interim workshop at the Ministry of Justice and coordinated a workshop on the subject of rehabilitation with people from a BAME background.


The terrifying abyss of insignificance: Marginalisation, mattering and violence between young people (2021)
Billingham, Luke and Irwin-Rogers, Keir
Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 11(5) (pp. 1222-1249)

Antisocial Shifts in Social Policy and Serious Violence between Young People: Evidence from the Cross-Party Youth Violence Commission (2020)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir; de-Lappe, Joseph and Phoenix, Jo
British Journal of Community Justice, 16(2/3) (pp. 4-27)

Illicit Drug Markets, Consumer Capitalism and the Rise of Social Media: A Toxic Trap for Young People (2019-12)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir
Critical Criminology, 27 (pp. 591-610)

Swimming Against the Tide: The Suspended Sentence Order in England and Wales, 2000-2017 (2019)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir and Roberts, Julian V.
Law & Contemporary Problems, 82(1) (pp. 137-162)

Racism and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system: Exploring the experiences and views of men serving sentences of imprisonment (2018-08)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir
Justice, Power and Resistance, 2(2) (pp. 243-266)

Challenging the orthodoxy on pupil gang involvement: When two social fields collide (2018-06-07)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir and Harding, Simon
British Educational Research Journal, 44(3) (pp. 463-479)

Staff-resident relationships in Approved Premises: What a difference a door makes (2017-12-01)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir
Probation Journal, 64(4) (pp. 388-404)

Legitimacy on Licence: Why and How it Matters (2017-03-03)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir
The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 56(1) (pp. 53-71)

Against Youth Violence: A Social Harm Perspective (2022-10-27)
Billingham, Luke and Irwin-Rogers, Keir
ISBN : 978-1529214062 | Publisher : Bristol University Press

Janus-faced Criminology: Negotiating the Boundaries Between Activist and Administrative Research (2023-08-09)
Irwin Rogers, Keir
In: Canning, Victoria; Martin, Greg and Tombs, Steve eds. The Emerald International Handbook of Activist Criminology (pp. 37-48)
ISBN : 978-1-80262-200-3 | Publisher : Emerald Publishing Limited | Published : Bingley, UK

Post-release residential supervision (2019-08-30)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir and Reeves, Carla
In: Ugwudike, Pamela; Graham, Hannah; McNeill, Fergus; Raynor, Peter; Taxman, Faye S. and Trotter, Chris eds. The Routledge Companion to Rehabilitative Work in Criminal Justice
ISBN : 9781138103320 | Publisher : Routledge

European Street Gangs and Urban Violence (2019-05-09)
Irwin-Rogers, K.; Decker, S.; Rostami, A.; Stephenson, S. and Van Hellemont, E.
In: Vojnovic, I.; Pearson, A.; Asiki, G.; DeVerteuil, G. and Adriana, A. eds. Handbook of Global Urban Health. The Metropolis and Modern Life (pp. 484-508)
ISBN : 9781315465456 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : New York

Gang Violence and Social Media (2018-01-04)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir; Densley, James and Pinkney, Craig
In: Ireland, Jane L.; Ireland, Carol A. and Birch, Philip eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Human Aggression
ISBN : 9781138668188 | Publisher : Routledge

Sentencing Practices and Trends, 1999-2013 (2015)
Roberts, Julian V. and Irwin Rogers, Keir
In: Roberts, Julian V. ed. Exploring Sentencing Practice in England and Wales (pp. 35-60)
ISBN : 978-1-137-39039-4 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan

Exploring the Impact of Sentencing Factors on Sentencing Domestic Burglary (2015)
Irwin Rogers, Keir and Perry, Thomas W.
In: Roberts, Julian V. ed. Exploring Sentencing Practice in England and Wales (pp. 194-220)
ISBN : 978-1-137-39039-4 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan

Youth Violence Commission Final Report (2020)
Irwin-Rogers, Keir; Muthoo, Abhinay and Billingham, Luke
Youth Violence Commission