• Room 01.024 - Sociology and Social Work

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Imprisonment Criminological Psychology Penal Reform Reducing Reoffending and Desistance Social Media Crimes


Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Introducing Criminology (CRM1001).
Punishment, Penal Policy and Prisons (CRM3001).
Psychological Perspectives on Crime (CRM3005). 


Research Interests

Identity, violence, imprisonment, shame, masculinity, penal reform, reintegration, desistance, criminological psychology and restorative justice.


Research Statement

My interests include criminological psychology and imprisonment. Criminological psychology involves understanding why people engage in crime, how society reacts to and manages criminal behaviour and how individuals began to leave behind a criminal career. In particular, I am interested in issues such as violence, identity, shame, masculinity, imprisonment, conflict, restorative justice and penal reform. My PhD thesis was entitled “Prisoner Confrontations: The Role of Shame, Masculinity and Respect” and investigated why some prisoners were more likely to engage in prisoner-on-prisoner violence than others. Since then, I have been involved in a number of research projects examining the service and support needs of young people on remand, fear of crime, equality and disciplinary processes in prison, prison-based parentaling programmes, the effects of caregiver imprisonment on children and penal reform.


Please feel free to contact me to discuss possible research ideas. 


Current PhD Students

Sinead Meade – Effects of Prison Work in the Irish Prison Service.

Keira Flanagan - The Potential Effects of Educational and Vocational Programmes on the Desistance Process in Imprisoned Young People.

Mark Williams - The Detection and Prevention of Inappropriate and Criminal Behaviour in Social Media.

Abdullah Al Habsi - A cross-national study of WhatsApp users in Oman: Motivations for self-disclosure and risk of blackmail.



Past PhD Students

Aimee Muirhead - Behind Closed Doors: A Study of Cell-Sharing, Wellbeing and Coping in Prison.

Shane Bell - Doing Desistance in Divided Neighbourhoods: The Role of Conflict Affected Neighbourhoods.

Lauren Hogg – The Impact of State Intervention on the Work of Community-Based Restorative Justice Projects in Northern Ireland.

Annemarie Millar - Police Response and Understanding of Incidents of Domestic Abuse Involvement Children and Young People.



BA (Hons) Psychology, University College Dublin.
MSc in Forensic Psychology, University of Kent at Canterbury.
PhD in Criminology, University of Cambridge.
Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Educational Teaching, Queen's University Belfast


Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Michelle Butler is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 10 Similar Profiles

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Output

Blackmail on social media: What do we know and what remains unknown?

Al Habsi, A., Butler, M., Percy, A. & Sezer, S., 23 Mar 2020, (Accepted) In : Security Journal.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Open Access
  • 124 Downloads (Pure)

    Explaining Disparities in Prisoner Outcomes.

    Butler, M., Kelly, D. & McNamee, C., Apr 2019, Queens University Belfast.

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

    Imprisoned Fathers: Responding to a Growing Concern

    Flynn, C. & Butler, M., 2019, Routledge. 118 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    Nominated for QUB PhD Supervisory Excellence Award 2016

    Michelle Butler (Recipient), 13 Apr 2016

    Prize: Other distinction

    Nominated for QUB PhD Supervisory Excellence Award 2018

    Michelle Butler (Recipient), 25 Apr 2018

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Activities

    Medical Research Council (External organisation)

    Michelle Butler (Reviewer)

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

    Criminal Justice and Behavior (Journal)

    Michelle Butler (Peer reviewer)
    2020 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

    Criminology External Examiner

    Michelle Butler (Examiner)

    Activity: Examination typesUG external examination

    KU Leuven Research Council (External organisation)

    Michelle Butler (Reviewer)
    2020 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

    Press / Media


    Behind the Door: A Study of Cell-Sharing, Wellbeing and Coping in Prison

    Author: Muirhead, A., Dec 2019

    Supervisor: Butler, M. (Supervisor) & Davidson, G. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Doing desistance in divided neighbourhoods : the role of conflict-affected neighbourhoods in the desistance process during reintegration

    Author: Bell, S., Dec 2019

    Supervisor: Lawther, C. (Supervisor) & Butler, M. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Policing Incidents of Domestic Abuse Involving Children: Children’s and Police Officers’ Experiences

    Author: Millar, A., 2019

    Supervisor: Butler, M. (Supervisor), Devaney, J. (Supervisor), Serisier, T. (Supervisor), Butler, M. (Supervisor) & Corr, M. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy