Daniel McCarthy

Dr Daniel McCarthy

BSc, MSc, PhD
+44 (0)1483 686972
37 AD 03

Academic and research departments

Department of Sociology.



McCarthy is currently Reader in Criminology in the Department of Sociology. He specialises in research in areas of policing, inter-agency working, and more latterly in the area of prison/family effects and incarceration. He also has interests in research methodology, especially mixed method designs.

McCarthy's wider interests concern the effects of family contact on prisoner re-entry, the impact of prison conditions on prisoner behaviour during and beyond their sentence, as well as more generally in the application of criminological theory. He is author of 'Soft Policing: The Collaborative Control of Anti-Social Behaviour' (Palgrave, 2014), as well as numerous articles in the fields of criminology and sociology. He has received several grants and awards including the 2014 British Society of Criminology (Policing Network) award, the 2014 Economic and Social Research Council, Future Leaders Award, as well as the 2015 Vice Chancellor's 'Researcher of the Year' Award.

Research interests

McCarthy is currently principal investigator for an ESRC-funded project investigating the relationship dynamics between juvenile male offenders and their primary caregivers during incarceration. His research assesses the ways through which caregivers (especially mothers) seek to support young men during incarceration, including the multitude of adversities which are created through this deployment of support. His core areas of investigation currently concern:

1. The ways through which juvenile incarceration compounds pre-existing forms of social disadvantage experienced by caregivers, focusing on aspects of mental health, social networks, poverty, family conflict and social stigma.

2. Why some relationships get better or worse during incarceration, including the social mechanisms underpinning these changes.

3. How caregiver stigma affects decisions to confide and seek support from persons within and beyond their social networks

4. What role caregivers can play in desistance and resettlement through their deployment of support.


Applied Criminological Theories (Level 2)Youth, Crime, Control (Level 3)Law, Society, Social Control (Masters)

Departmental duties

Past and present PhD students

Serena Wright (graduated 2014) 'Persistent' and 'prolific' offending across the lifecourse as experienced by women

Melissa Pepper (3rd year PhD) Doing more with less: The use of volunteers in policing

Annie Bunce (2nd year PhD) Offender motivation in the context of prison programmes

Charlotte Dodds (2nd year PhD) The Partners of Prisoners

Henriikka Stranden (1st year PhD) Artificial intelligence and prediction of crime


I am keen to supervise new PhD students and would welcome applications across most criminological areas, but especially in the following topics:

  • Imprisonment, especially its social effects
  • Prisoner-family ties, visitation and resettlement
  • Family adversity and conflict, with reference to gender and race
  • Inter-agency working in criminal justice and social welfare
  • Policing, especially in areas of gender and police culture
  • Theoretical and methodological studies, with reference to criminology and social problems


Current and previous management roles

Director of BSc Sociology (2011/2-2013/14)

Director of Postgraduate studies (2014/15)

Director of BSc Criminology (2015/6 to 2017/18)









My publications


McCarthy, D., & Adams, M (2019). Assessing the deployment of informal support networks for mothers of incarcerated young men. European Journal of Criminology,
Adams, M., & McCarthy, D (2019). Race and parenting in the context of youth incarceration. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1-18.
Hollywood, A., McCarthy, D., Spencely, C., & Winstone, N. (2019). “Overwhelmed at first”: The experience of career development in Early Career Academics, Journal of Further and Higher Education
McCarthy, D, J, Adams, M (2019). Yes, I can still parent. Until I die, he will always be my son”: Parental responsibility in the wake of child incarceration, Punishment and Society, 21(1), 89-106.
Bullock, K, Bunce, A, McCarthy, D (2018). Making Good in Unpromising Places: The Development and Cultivation of Redemption Scripts Among Long-Term Prisoners, Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
McCarthy, D & Adams, M (2018). Can Family–Prisoner Relationships Ever Improve During Incarceration? Examining the Primary Caregivers of Incarcerated Young Men, British Journal of Criminology, 59(2), 378-395.
McCarthy, D & Brunton-Smith, I (2018). The Effect of Legitimacy on Prisoners’ Post-Release Desistance, Crime and Delinquency, 64 (7): 917-938
McCarthy, D & Brunton-Smith, I (2017). Prisoner-family ties during imprisonment: Reassessing resettlement outcomes and the role of visitation, Prison Service Journal
McCarthy, D & Adams, M (2017). Visitation as Human ‘Right’ or Earned ‘Privilege’ for Prisoners? The Differing Tales of England/Wales, and Scotland, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 39 (4): 403-416
Sindall, K, McCarthy, D, J, Brunton-Smith, I (2017). Young People and the Formation of Attitudes towards the Police’, European Journal of Criminology, 14 (3), 344-364
Brunton-Smith & McCarthy, D (2017). The effects of prisoner attachment to family on re-entry outcomes: A longitudinal assessment, British Journal of Criminology, 57 (2): 463-482
Brunton-Smith, I & McCarthy, D, J (2017). Explaining Young People’s Involvement in Online Piracy: An Empirical Assessment Using the Offending Crime and Justice Survey in England and Wales, Victims and Offenders, 11 (4), 509-533
McCarthy, D (2016). Dangerous Dogs, Dangerous Owners and the Waste Management of an ‘Irredeemable’ Species, Sociology, 50 (3), 560-575
Brunton-Smith, I & McCarthy, D, J (2016). Prisoner Perceptions of Legitimacy: Exploring the role of prison context and prisoner experience, Justice Quarterly, 33 (6), 1029-1054
Bullock, K & McCarthy, D (2015). Conducting Systematic Reviews of Social Science Literature, in Gilbert, N, Stoneman, P (eds) Researching Social Life (Third Edition), London, Sage
McCarthy, D & O'Neill, M (2014). The Police and Partnership Working: A Review of Recent Research, Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 8 (3): 243-253.
McCarthy, D (2014). Revolutions in Youth Justice Revisited, Criminal Justice Matters, 96 (1), September
McCarthy, D (2014). Soft Policing: The Collaborative Control of Anti-Social Behaviour, Basingstoke, Palgrave
O'Neill, M & McCarthy, D (2014). ‘(Re) Negotiating Police Culture through Partnership Working: Trust, Compromise and the ‘New’ Pragmatism’, Criminology and Criminal Justice, 14(2), 143-159
McCarthy, D (2013). Gay and Lesbian Cops: Diversity and Effective Policing. By Roddrick A. Colvin (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc)
McCarthy, D (2013). Gendering ‘Soft’ Policing: Multi-Agency Working, Female Cops, and the Fragilities of Police Culture/s, Policing and Society, 23 (2), 262-278
McCarthy, D, J (2011). Classing Early Intervention: Social Class, Occupational Moralities and Criminalization, Critical Social Policy, 31 (4), 495-516
McCarthy, D, J (2010). Self-Governance or Professionalized Paternalism? The Police, Contractual Injunctions, and the Differential Management of Deviant Populations, British Journal of Criminology, Vol 50, 896-913