Sensory Criminology

Sensory Criminology is a creative space to explore sensory experience of criminological concerns.

This blog is designed to accompany and extend themes and ideas introduced in our forthcoming edited collection “Sensory penalities: exploring the sensory in spaces of punishment and social control” (Bingley: Emerald) due out in 2020.

A sense of home in prison?

If I closed my eyes I could have been in a garden or park. None of the men’s prisons had green outside space, and this example highlights the differences in sensory experience depending on the specific prison environment the men and women were in. When I asked Anthony what he was most looking forward to upon release he said:

                 “Four and a half years behind a door, just get a bit freedom, even just to do a walk, like I don’t know, walk on some grass or something (laughter).”

TALKING ABOUT NOT TALKING: THE SENSES AND THE VICTORIAN PRISON

One of the most important rituals of the experienced criminal starting a sentence in some cellular Victorian prisons was entirely tactile. He or she would run their fingers along the ledge beneath the ventilator over the door of the cell. I do the same whenever I enter a preserved gaol now. They were feeling for a nail which might have been left there by the previous occupant.


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