The shadow of penal supervision

Despite its dramatic proliferation and diversification in recent decades, ‘offender supervision’ has been largely invisible in scholarly and public discussion of criminal justice and its development in late-modern societies. The pre-occupation with ‘mass incarceration’ has, until very recently, allowed the emergence of ‘mass supervision’ to remain in the shadows.

This British Academy Mid Career Fellowship (MD160022, awarded to Prof Fergus McNeill of the University of Glasgow)aims to consolidate four years of work leading a network of European researchers to address this neglect (see www.offendersupervision.eu). As well as seeking to re-shape ‘punishment and society’ debates by de-centring the prison, the fellowship aims to use innovative and creative methods to explore and to represent the lived experience of supervision. Specifically, it uses photography and song to (literally) make supervision seen and heard. These methods will simultaneously enrich our scholarly understandings of supervision, punishment and reintegration and secure deeper public dialogue on these important issues.