Dr. Jennifer Turner

Department of Social Sciences  (» Postal address)


Current research strands

The Group currently works on these active projects:

Institutional infrastructures: The prison-military complex

What is the relationship between prisons – spaces of control, spatial exclusion and confinement – and institutions of the military? This project understands the complex relations between prisons and the ways in which they are embedded in (post) military infrastructures and staffed by (past) military personnel at a time at which prisons worldwide see an increasing relation (and reliance) on the two. This collaborative research based on long-term observations, survey analysis and interviews, explores the multifarious connections between these institutions in a variety of global contexts. It draws together a research team including Prof. Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham, UK), Prof. Rose Ricciardelli (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada) and Prof. Anna Eriksson (Monash University, Australia).

Current funded projects:

2020-2022 Correctional Staff in Canada: Understanding the Armed Forces to Civilian Transition Within Prison Spaces in Canadian Provinces Funded by an Insight Development Grant, The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (CAN $74.230)

2021           Prisons, the Military and ‘Just’ Institutions: Former-Military Personnel as Prison Staff in Argentina, Brazil and Ukraine.  Funded by IGI/IAS Global Challenges Funding, University of Birmingham, UK (GBP £5.650)

Associated publications:

Moran, D. and Turner, J. (2021) The prison as a postmilitary landscape. Social and Cultural Geography DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2021.1983860

Turner, J. and Moran, D. (2021) Bridging the gap? Ex-military personnel and military-civilian transition within the prison workforce. Armed Forces and Society. DOI: 10.1177/0095327X211039879

Moran, D. and Turner, J. (2021) How many prison officers are ex‐military personnel? Estimating the proportion of Armed Forces leavers within the prison workforce of England and Wales. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice. DOI: 10.1111/hojo.12450

Moran, D. and Turner, J. (2021) Drill, discipline and decency? Exploring the significance of prior military experience for prison staff culture. Theoretical Criminology. DOI: 10.1177/13624806211031248

Moran, D., Turner, J., & Arnold, H. (2019). Soldiering on? The prison‐military complex and ex‐military personnel as prison officers: transition, rehabilitation and prison reform. The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 58(2), 220-239


Carceral Geographies: Understanding social control through women’s imprisonment

Carceral geography is an important, growing sub-discipline of ‘human geography’ – a subject centred on understanding the relations between people, space and place. Carceral geographers are interested in making sense of the relations between spaces and places that are carceral – which have qualities of control, exclusion and confinement – and society. Yet ‘carceral geography’ has so far seen no German data. This project provides a vital expansion of carceral geography and qualitative criminology into the German-speaking, interdisciplinary field. It does so through a project on understandings of social control and women’s imprisonment. Prison research in Germany is largely of a quantitative nature and overwhelmingly based on male prisoners who make up the vast majority of the prison estate. Women have remained largely absent from studies into key issues such as control, exclusion and experiences of confinement. Yet female prisoners are particularly important because many reform agendas are trialled on this relatively small and seemingly more manageable group. However, little is known about women prisoners’ experiences in Germany due to a lack of qualitative research. This project fills this necessary gap whilst developing the project of German ‘carceral geographies’.

Current funded projects:

2021 – 2025 Women’s Imprisonment, Social Control and the Carceral State (WISCA) is

funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship via the European Commission bringing Dr Anna Schliehe to Oldenburg from 1 September 2021(€174.806). Dr Jennifer Turner is the host supervisor.

Associated publications:

Moran, D., Turner, J., & Schliehe, A. K. (2018). Conceptualizing the carceral in carceral geography. Progress in Human Geography, 42(5), 666-686.

Spaces of care and control: Apparatus and modes of carceral concern

Whilst much research of crime and carcerality focuses on the politics of intentional, detrimental spatial exclusion and confinement, there is a need also to consider how crime and spaces of carcerality are also ones of control and care. Critically considering how ‘care’, concern, development, and rehabilitation play out – past and present – projects within this strand shift understandings of carcerality to new empirical sites of focus (such as the workhouse) and areas of concern (youth justice). Focused on how historical workhouses functioned as sites of care in the 18th century, to the contemporary workings of the youth justice estate in the 21st century, projects here stretch and reorient understandings of crime and carcerality within theories of institutional ‘care’ and ‘concern’.

Current funded projects:

2018-2023  Unlocking Carceral Geographies of Care: The Legacies of Wirral Workhouse-Hospitals.  Funded by a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership Award) (GBP £80.838) Ella Bytheway-Jackson is the doctoral candidate based at the University of Liverpool, UK and Dr Jennifer Turner is a supervisor.

Associated publications:

Price, J., & Turner, J. (2021). (Custodial) spaces to grow? Adolescent development during custodial transitions. Journal of Youth Studies

Carceral Geography Beyond Boundaries: Carceral Seas

Longstanding work by Turner (2014, 2016) has considered the role of the ‘boundary’ as essential to the understanding crime and carcerality. For example, individuals – on committing and being convicted of crime – are often removed from society through the act of bordering, of placing people within a boundary, behind bars. Yet as Turner shows, boundaries are far more porous than many imagine. This project builds from an interest in boundaries to push the very boundaries of what we understand spaces of incarceration, bounding, containment and confinement to be. Spaces other than the prison, the workhouse or the youth justice estate also have ‘carceral’ qualities of control, exclusion and confinement. By thinking of other spaces through a conceptual lens of ‘carcerality’ we may be able to better understand lived experiences, modes of governance, and the politics of control – historically and today. This project explores offshore spaces as ones of crime and carcerality. Work considers the politics of containment of people at sea (on the prison ship) as well the bordering practices that characterise modern marine governance (in the shape of boundary making spatial management tools such as Marine Protected Areas).

Associated publications:

Peters, K., & Turner, J. (forthcoming). Carceral seas: An agenda for carceral geography beyond boundaries. Political Geography.

Turner, J., & Peters, K. (2017). Rethinking mobility in criminology: Beyond horizontal mobilities of prisoner transportation. Punishment & Society, 19(1), 96-114.

Peters, K., & Turner, J. (2015). Between crime and colony: Interrogating (im)mobilities aboard the convict ship. Social and Cultural Geography, 16(7), 844-862.

(Changed: 2021-10-25)