Members of the Crime and Justice Research Network at UNSW are engaged in a wide range of research relating to criminal justice issues: Some current research is highlighted below:
(For more information about recent conference presentations, publications and other activities by our members please click through to their individual websites here

 Indigenous Australians with mental health disorders and cognitive disability in the criminal justice system (ARC Linkage Projects, LP100200096) 

High rates of Indigenous Australians with mental health disorders and cognitive disabilities in the criminal justice system are evidenced in a current ARC Linkage project. This project moves into new territory by extending Indigenous specific data and gathering qualitative information to develop a comprehensive picture of the coalescence of multiple diagnoses, heightened vulnerabilities, complex support needs and simultaneous interventions for Indigenous persons. Comparative analysis with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peers will identify points of difference. Experiences and opinions of this group and specialist support and community leaders will be gathered to identify appropriate conceptualisations and interventions.

Eileen Baldry, Patrick  Dodson, Leanne  Dowse, Devon  Indig, Julian  Trollor.

 Positive life pathways for vulnerable adolescents: The role of a life management program approach (ARC Linkage)

This project is led by Dr Sally Nathan and examines the outcomes for young people undertaking a life managament program to overcome drug use and involvement in the criminal justice system

CIs Nathan, Ferry, Hayen. Baldry, Rawstone, PO Noffs Foundation

A Future Beyond the Wall: Improving Post-release Employment Outcomes for People Leaving Prison. (ARC Linkage LP140100329)

This Linkage project examines programs across Australia addressing education training and employment for prisoners and ex-prisoners  across Australia, examining their effectiveness and various approaches. Nested studies on education, training and employment for people with disability and Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system are included.

CIs Baldry, Dowse, Bright, Cale, (UNSW), Graffam, Day, MacGillivray (Deakin) POs DCS NSW, DCS ACT, ACEA, WISE, Breakout, ACSO.

Drug law enforcement policy: The deterrent effects of Australian policing strategies (ARC DP 2015)

Since the banning of psychoactive substances Australian and international drug policy has been underpinned by the assumption that police can deter, discourage or prevent drug offending. It is argued that drug laws and enforcement of those laws will reduce involvement in drug use and trafficking. Yet deterrent effects have gone unexamined or measured using narrow parameters. This project seeks to provide the first comprehensive assessment of the deterrent effects of Australian drug law enforcement policy. The project will:

a) measure the deterrent effects of four Australian policing strategies on current and would-be  offenders’ decisions to use, possess, purchase or traffick illicit drugs;

b) track deterrent effects of drug law enforcement under real world policing conditions in Sydney, NSW and the facilitators and barriers to police deterrence; and

c) generate a new conceptual framework of drug law enforcement deterrence.


Dr Caitlin Hughes (UNSW)
Professor Alison Ritter (UNSW)
Professor Rob MacCoun (University of Stanford)
Dr Don Weatherburn (BOCSAR)

Sexual violence in post-conflict settings is disproportionately experienced by women. Identifying innovative approaches to address this critical global problem is an urgent task. International justice advocates have identified reparations as a tool to ‘transform’ the conditions underlying the violence and to prevent its recurrence. As the International Criminal Court and other tribunals begin to design and implement reparation frameworks, it is a crucial time to define the essential elements for this ‘transformation.’ Of equal importance is determining the limits and potential of these institutions to use reparations to reduce sexual violence against women. (ARC Discovery project)

Prof Louise Chappell, A/Prof Andrea Durbach, Dr Sarah Williams

Justice Reinvestment in Australia: conceptual foundations for criminal justice innovation (ARC UNSW)

This project will examine the characteristics of Justice Reinvestment programs used in other countries which reduce spending on prisons and reinvest the savings in high crime communities to reduce crime and build community services. This study will analyse whether such programs can be developed in the Australian context. Website

Prof Julie Stubbs; Ms Melanie Schwartz; Prof Chris Cunneen; Emeritus Prof David Brown,

A comparative analysis of youth punishment in Australia and the United Kingdom  (ARC James Cook University)

This project is a comparative Australian and United Kingdom investigation of penal policy and the punishment of juvenile offenders. The research analyses the changing approaches to juvenile incarceration, particularly in the context of perceived effects on crime and the substantial public and social costs of incarceration. Website


Prof Chris Cunnen; Prof Eileen Baldry; Ms Melanie Schwartz; Prof Barry Goldson; Emeritus Prof David Brown

The role of cultural factors in the sentencing of Indigenous sex offenders in the Northern Territory (ARC UNSW)


This is a study of the impact of extra-legal factors about sexuality and Indigenous culture on the sentencing of Indigenous sex offenders in the Northern Territory. It will provide an empirical basis for future policy, legal practice and law reform relating to sentencing in sexual assault cases in the Northern Territory, with broader application to other Australian jurisdictions.



Dr Kyllie Cripps; Prof Megan Davis; Ass Prof Anne Cossins


The evolution of criminal networks over time: A case study of an Australian drug trafficking network (ECR grant: UNSW) Dr David Bright

Drunk, high or sober: How do alcohol and illicit drug prices affect young Australians' plans for Saturday night? (ARC Linkage)


Dr Jenny Chalmers (UNSW), Dr David Bright, Dr Rebecca McKetin (ANU), Partner organisation: BOCSAR

Illicit drug trafficking: the structure of illicit networks and implications for resilience and vulnerability (ARC Discovery)



Dr David Bright, Dr Catherine Greenhill (UNSW), Prof Alison Ritter (UNSW), Prof Carlo Morselli (University of Montreal)

"Participation of Victims of Crime in NSW Court Processes"

This project will develop a typology of victim participation in NSW courts via a three stage process of document analysis, semi-structured interviews with justice officials, and a survey of victims of crime. This will determine how victims currently participate and how impediments to participation may be improved in accordance with the expectations of all stakeholders, including the judiciary, prosecution, lawyers and defendants.

Administering Organisation: Department of Justice and Attorney General, NSW

Dr Tyrone Kirchengast , Suzanne Poynton, Laura Boseley

"Pro-arrest policies, dual arrest and the policing of domestic violence" funded by Office for Women's Policy, NSW Department of Family and Community Services and by research grants from the Faculties of Law at UNSW and UTS.

Professor Julie Stubbs, Dr Jane Wangmann UTS, Dr Lesley Laing University of Sydney and Ms Betty Green DV Coalition
'The ties that bind: fraudulent groups, collective action and fraud risk' ARC Future Fellowship (2011-2015) Associate Professor Clinton Free

The Australian Prison Project: an Australian Research Council funded project. The research addresses the continued growth in the Australian prison population over the last 25 years. It aims to identify changes in penal culture over the last 25 years that have led to a re-emergence of imprisonment as a frontline criminal justice strategy. Website

Professor Eileen Baldry, Professors Chris Cunneen and David Brown, Associate Professor Alex Steel & Dr Mark Brown (Melbourne University)
Suspect sciences: Enhancing emerging identification technologies and forensic expertise: an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship Professor Gary Edmond

Defending battered women on trial: Australia, Canada and NZ a comparative study funded by University of Auckland research development grant.


Professor Julie Stubbs, with Associate Professor Julia Tolmie (University ofAuckland) and Professor Liz Sheehy (University of Ottawa)

‘People with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Justice System’

Professor Eileen Baldry, Emeritus Prof Ian Webster & Dr Leanne Dowse

Legal culture, work stress and professional practice: a study of Australian lawyers (Australian Research Council)

Professor Janet Chan

Social and cultural resilience and emotional well being of Aboriginal mothers in prison (NHMRC grant)

Professor Eileen Baldry and others

Countering misconceptions in child sexual assault cases with expert evidence and judicial directions (Australian Research Council)

Dr Anne I Cossins, with Prof Jane Goodman Delahunty

Exporting risk: the Australian deportation project (Australian Research Council)

Michael J Grewcock, with Prof Sharon Pickering, Dr Leanne Weber,  Dr Marie T Segrave

Restorative Justice for Victims & Serious Offenders Investigates restorative justice processes following serious criminal offending with adult offenders in prison and short, medium & long term impacts for victims, offenders, their families and communities. (ARC Linkage Grant)

Professor Janet Chan, Dr Jane Bolitho
Challenges, Possibilities & Future Directions: A National Assessment of Australia's Children's Courts: This national study assesses the status of, challenges & potential reform for Australian children's courts across both criminal and child welfare jurisdictions. (ARC Discovery Grant)

Dr Jane Bolitho and 16 other researchers from across Australia

Alternative and Improved Responses to Domestic and Family Violence In Queensland Indigenous Communities (Department of Communities, Brisbane) tabled report

Professor Chris Cunneen

Detecting identity fraud in passport applications: Improving human operator performance through better understanding of unfamiliar face processing (Australian Research Council)

Dr Richard I Kemp, Mr Michael Matheson
Treating PTSD and substance use among prison inmates (New South Wales Health Drug and Alcohol Research Grant) This study is a collaborative effort with NSW Justice Health and the Department of Corrective Services. Indig D., Mills K., Sunjic S., Sannibale C., Barrett E., Najavits L., and Topp

Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Justice System (Australian Research Council)

Professor Eileen Baldry, Dr Leanne Dowse, Ass Prof Julian Torollor, Professor Patrick Dodson, Dr Devon Indig