Publications & Team

Current Research

Jessica is engaged in a range of research activities. Her role includes overseeing the development of the World Prison Research Programme: this is a new programme of international comparative research on prisons and imprisonment. The programme will build on the work of the World Prison Brief, which is an online database providing details on the prison systems of over 220 independent countries and dependent territories. Much of Jessica's other work focuses on the criminal courts. Among her recently completed projects is a study on the on the application of the doctrine of 'joint enterprise' in the prosecution of serious offences.

Background and Expertise

Jessica has a BA degree in sociology from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD in sociology from the London School of Economics. Her thesis was on the subject of ethnic and religious identities among second-generation British Pakistanis (published by Routledge as Islam in Transition in 1998).

Jessica has developed her expertise in criminal justice research since working as a Research Officer, and then Senior Research Officer, for the Home Office from 1997 to 2000. She has experience of researching many different aspects of the criminal justice system; particular interests include prisons; sentencing and the work of the criminal courts more broadly; and youth justice. Her recent publications include Inside Crown Court (with Gillian Hunter and Amy Kirby), published by Policy Press in 2015, which discusses the experiences of victims, witnesses and defendants at court.


Supporting the effective participation of defendants in court proceedings

  • Author(s) Jacobson, J., Hunter, G. and Kirby, A.
  • SubjectCourts, sentencing and attitudes to justice
  • Year2014
  • LocationLondon
  • Publisher/PublicationICPR
  • Misc infoAlso published on The Advocate's Gateway website:
  • Downloadsicpr_defendants.pdf

Crime and ‘Community’: Exploring the scope for community involvement in criminal justice

Inside the Crown Court

  • Author(s) Jacobson, J., Hunter, G. and Kirby, A.
  • SubjectCourts, sentencing and attitudes to justice
  • Year2014
  • LocationLondon
  • Publisher/PublicationBirkbeck, University of London
  • Misc infoBBK Review 2013; Issue 32: 40-41.
  • Downloadscrown_court.pdf

By mistakes we learn? A review of criminal appeals against sentence

Out of the shadows: Victims' and witnesses' experiences of the Crown Court

Improving the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime Consultation – a response from the Institute for Criminal Policy Research

Public attitudes to youth crime: Report on focus group research

Personal mitigation: an empirical analysis in England and Wales

  • Author(s) Jacobson, J. and Hough, M.
  • SubjectCourts, sentencing and attitudes to justice
  • Year2011
  • LocationCambridge
  • Publisher/PublicationCambridge University Press
  • Misc infoin (ed.Roberts, J. V.) Mitigation and Aggravation at Sentencing

Public attitudes to the sentencing of drug offences (report)

Time Well Spent: A practical guide to active citizenship and volunteering in prison

  • Author(s) Edgar, K., Jacobson, J. and Biggar, K.
  • SubjectVolunteering, peer mentoring and the criminal justice system
  • Year2011
  • LocationLondon
  • Publisher/PublicationPrison Reform Trust
  • Downloadstime well spent.pdf