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Text Box: The Virtual Young Offenders’ Institution
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Criminal Justice Research

The Virtual Young Offenders Institute (VYOI) research study is funded by the Community Service Volunteers [CSV] and runs from September 2005 to September 2008.  Understood as a `third sentencing option’, the virtual prison (Clear Track) is a hybrid of custodial and community-based punishment, sometimes referred to as community custody. 

The research team – Dr Elaine Campbell and Danna-Mechelle Lewis, based in Sociology at Newcastle University – are undertaking an evaluation of an innovative, pilot approach to sentencing which is the first of its kind in the UK.  The evaluation study examines contemporary theories of desistance (from offending) and makes the connections between these and the structures, processes and experiences of virtual incarceration, paying particular attention to what works, and how (and when) it works to reduce re-offending. 

The research project also forms the basis of Miss Lewis’ doctoral study of the governance of risk.   The thesis critically reviews models of risk and risk-analysis currently used within criminal justice; using the data from the evaluation study, the doctoral thesis will develop a grounded understanding and conceptual framework which challenges current theorisations of risk at the micro-, mezzo- and macro-level. 

© Criminal Justice Research 2006