Dr Maria Adams
I am a lecturer in Criminology. I graduated with a PhD in 2017 titled: “We are living their sentence with them…” - How prisoners' families experience life inside and outside prison spaces in Scotland. Prior to my PhD, I completed my Master of Arts in Sociology at City University and Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Sociology at the University of Leicester.
My research and teaching are centred on issues surrounding prisons, including food in prison and the effects of imprisonment on families of prisoners. Also, my research interests stem to exploring the effects of the ‘controversial’ doctrine-Joint Enterprise.
I am one of the lead programme co-ordinators with colleagues from Department of Sociology and School of Law working in partnership with a grassroots organisation called JENGba on a project called Joint Enterprise Appeals Project. The project is delivered by students from the Department of Sociology and School of law, where they carried out a case review of several live cases.
I am also one of the lead programme co-ordinators for the Learning Together programme in partnership with HMP Send. I am responsible for the design and the implementation of the course. We began this new initiative in Spring 2019 and taught a new module entitled ‘Opening Criminology’. We are developing a range of other modules for the next few years to encompass a range of topics to reflect the Department of Sociology.
My recent work on Doing Porridge: Understanding women’s experiences of food in prison is funded by the Economic Social Research Council.
I am very interested in research surrounding issues related to the prison system. I conducted a PhD on the experiences of families of prisoners in Scotland. After this, I was appointed as a research assistant on an ESRC funded project called ‘parenting young offenders’ at the University of Surrey. The principal investigator for this project was Dr Daniel McCarthy . There are several publications associated to this project under ‘publications list’.
- Food in Women’s prisons
I am a principal investigator for an ESRC funded project called Doing Porridge: Understanding women’s experiences of food in prison. This is a two year project from September 2021-September 2023. This project aims to analyse the experience of food in women’s prisons using an intersectional approach. It adopts an innovative suite of mixed qualitative methods in order to gain valuable insight into women’s experiences of this aspect of prison life. The study will open up wider conversations about food in prisons through an exhibition of prisoners’ art run in partnership with Koestler Arts. This project will make a significant contribution to understanding issues related to food, gender and ethnicity, and will provide an invaluable insight into how food forms part of women’s identities and experiences in prison.
Please see website for further details: Doing Porridge: Understanding women’s experiences of food in prison | University of Surrey
- Families, food and visiting rooms in a women’s prison
I am a principal investigator for a BA small grants called Food, families and visiting rooms in a women’s prison. This will be a two year project. We will explore how food contributes to improving the quality of visits; and more importantly, how this may strengthen the ties between women and their loved ones. The interview sample will be ten women in prison and ten family members (over the age of 18 only). Family members can be considered as ‘partner’, ‘child’, ‘parent of prisoner’ or siblings. Additionally, interviews will take place with three members of staff within the visiting room who can provide insightful observations in relation to food and visits over time. These interviews will be combined with observations of the role that food plays in the interactions between the women, their families and prison staff in the visiting room.
Aims of this study:
- To understand how food is utilised in the visiting room to strengthen familial ties between women in prison and their loved ones.
- To explore the preparation of food in the visiting rooms of a women’s prison.
- To examine the consumption food as a tool to strengthen social interactions between women, family members and their children.
- To explore how food can contribute to women adopting their familial roles to bond with their relatives in the visiting room.
- To reflect on how food is utilised to celebrate special events, i.e. birthdays, religious events; and how women and their families practise this in the visiting rooms.
- To identify policy and practical recommendations to improve the quality and experience of food in visiting rooms.
Postgraduate research supervision
I am pleased to accept applications for PhD supervision in the field of penology including issues surrounding prison culture, social identity and the effects of incarceration.
My teaching in the department is devoted to the BSC Criminology and BSC Criminology and Sociology degrees. I teach on the following modules:
SOC1034 Crime and Society (Year 1)
SOC2073 Punishment and Society (Year 2)