Imprisonment Observatory

The Imprisonment Observatory (ImO)

The Imprisonment Observatory speaks to the recognition of work that interrogates uses and practices of imprisonment on a global scale, in its many contemporary and historical forms. The Imprisonment Observatory brings together international researchers, postgraduate students and organisational partners to share knowledge on imprisonment-related practices.

Our people

Get to know our founders and academic researchers.

Our partners

See our NGO and Government partners.

Our postgraduate students

Meet our next generation of world leading scholars.

Our six imprisonment-based research areas:


Empirical research on pre-imprisonment, alternative correctional pathways and prevention including diversion, suspended sentences and restorative justice.


Research on current imprisonment and confinement practices including remand, detention, prisons and pre-release preparation.

Release and Re-entry

Research on post-imprisonment processes including parole, probation, community supervision, reintegration, recidivism and desistance.

Theories of imprisonment

High quality theoretical studies of imprisonment, advancing our understanding of issues related to imprisonment across the globe.

Comparative penology

Research comparing historical and contemporary practices, or cross-jurisdictional analysis, within and between nations.

Current issues in imprisonment research

Current topical issues related to imprisonment-related practices.


The Imprisonment Observatory offers a repository of prison related academic publications. Browse through the work of our researchers.


If you are currently studying or undertaking postgraduate research and have an interest in imprisonment-related practices, find out more about the internship application process.

Contact us

If you are an organisation or researcher with interest in imprisonment-related practices and would like to join our network, please email your CV and a short introduction to

New report “Prison Privatisation in Australia: The State of the Nation”

Associate Professor Jane Andrew along with Dr Max Baker and Dr Phillip Roberts were awarded an Industry Partnership Grant to conduct research into prison privatisation in Australia from 2015-2016. The purpose of the report was to provide a description of Australian private prisons over time. This involves an overview of private prisons in Queensland, New…

THURSDAY 25 AUGUST 2016 10:30AM – 1PM THE DRILL HALL, 26 THERRY STREET, MELBOURNE The Smart Justice Symposium, Remaking Justice, will bring together government, academic, legal and service sector leaders to explore opportunities for working together to ‘remake justice’ and improve the justice system. The Symposium will examine critical issues, including the recommendations in the…

ARC Linkage Grant success

ARC Linkage Grant success for UNSW, Deakin and Edith Cowan to explore A Future Beyond the Wall: Improving Post-Release Employment Outcomes for People Leaving Prison. This ARC Linkage Grant funded project runs in three stages from 2015-2017 with Chief Investigators: Prof Baldry, Assoc Prof Leanne Dowse, Dr David Bright, Dr Jesse Cale (UNSW), Prof Joe…

Imprisonment Observatory welcomes its newest members

Welcome to our newest members Dr Sarah Turnbull and Professor Eileen Baldry. Sarah Turnbull is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Centre for Criminology (2013-2016) at the University of Oxford. Her main research interests include immigration detention and deportation; gender, race, and punishment; and parole. Sarah’s forthcoming book, Parole in Canada: Gender and Diversity in…

Academy of Social Sciences of Australia grant awarded success for Monash University and University of Queensland

Monash Criminology’s Dr Claire Spivakovsky, with co-investigators Professor Wayne Hall (University of Queensland), Dr Kate Seear (Monash Law) and Dr Adrian Carter (Monash Neuroscience) have been awarded a highly competitive Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia grant to host a workshop on Intervention, prevention and punishment: Authenticity and capacity in mandated treatment. The workshop will bring together academics,…

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