School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law
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Professor Philip Whitehead

Philip Whitehead

About Philip Whitehead

After studying theology at Manchester University in the 1970s and later qualifying as a social worker/probation officer at Lancaster University, Dr Whitehead worked for the Probation Service in the North East of England from 1981 to 2007 before being appointed lecturer at Teesside University. He was appointed Professor in criminal and social justice in July 2015.

During his time in probation he researched a rapidly changing organisation which culminated in a PhD from Durham University in 1989. He was involved in researching Temporary Release Schemes for young offenders (1991), and assisted in editing a book on Managerial issues (1992). He later co-authored a book on the training and education of Trainee Probation Officers (2004). He has written widely on the history, modernisation and transformation of the probation service. He co-edited a book on Organising Neoliberalism: markets, privatisation and justice (Anthem Press 2012).

More recently Philip completed a book on Reconceptualising the Moral Economy of Criminal Justice: a new perspective (Palgrave 2015) and Transforming Probation: social theories and the criminal justice system (Policy Press November 2016). His main area of interest is to theorise probation, criminal justice, and penal policy developments in relation to politico-economic transformations since the 1980s. This is reflected in numerous book, chapter, and article publications.

Research interests and activities

Professor Whitehead’s main research interest since 2004 has been probation and criminal justice modernisation and ethico-cultural transformation: The History of Probation (2006); Modernising Probation and Criminal Justice (2007); Exploring Modern Probation (2010); and Transforming Probation: social theories and the criminal justice system.

He has explored the nature, scope and content of Third Sector involvement in the mixed economy of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), with particular reference to faith communities in the form of community chaplaincy (see report).

He continues to pursue the thematic of moral economy of criminal justice, both its decline since the 1980s and scope for reanimation in the prevailing political economy of neoliberalism.

Dr Whitehead is interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas:
• Developments in criminal justice and penal policy since the 1980s
• Moral economy of criminal justice in context of neoliberal political economy
• The religious question in criminal justice (linked to the theme of moral economy)