Skip to main content

Professor Richard Sparks

Prof Richard Sparks
Professor of Criminology

BA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab)

Office hours:

Tuesday 12:00-13:00

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2009


View my full research profile

Richard Sparks is Professor of Criminology at the University of Edinburgh.

From 2014-17 he was Head of the School of Law. He was from 2006-16 a founding Co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.

In 2019 Richard was awarded a doctorate honoris causa by KU Leuven.

He is Convener of Howard League Scotland.

He is a member of the editorial boards of several journals including Punishment & Society, of which he was editor-in-chief 2000-2004.

He is author/co-author of Television and the Drama of Crime (Open University Press, 1992), Prisons and the Problem of Order (with Tony Bottoms and Will Hay, OUP, 1996), Crime and Social Change in Middle England (with Evi Girling and Ian Loader, Routledge, 2000) and Public Criminology? (with Ian Loader, Routledge, 2010).

Richard has also edited a number of books. The most recent of these are: Democratic Theory and Mass Incarceration (with Albert Dzur and Ian Loader) (Oxford, 2016); four volumes on Punishment (with Richard Jones) in Routledge's Critical Concepts in Criminology series (2015); The SAGE Handbook of Punishment & Society (with Jonathan Simon) (SAGE, 2012); Travels of the Criminal Question (with Dario Melossi and Máximo Sozzo) (Hart, 2011) and Escape Routes: Contemporary Perspectives on Life After Punishment (with Farrall, Hough and Maruna), Routledge, 2010.

Richard welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral applicants in his fields of interest - the sociology of punishment and penal politics, prisons, expertise and policy-formation and also welcomes enquiries from prospective postdoctoral candidates.