Dr Layla Skinns (Sheffield) A room with a view? Material conditions and the ‘representational’ inside police detention, Law Building, Cardiff University, Wednesday, 11. March 2020

For this seminar, co-hosted by the British Society of Criminology Wales Branch and the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice at Cardiff University, Dr Layla Skinns (University of Sheffield) will be discussing her ESRC funded research on 'Good Police Custody'.
This seminar will take place at 4-6pm on Wednesday 11 March 2020 in Room 2.30, Law Building, Cardiff School of Law and Politics, Museum Avenue, Cardiff University, CF10 3AX.
Abstract: In a recent Trip Advisor review of a police custody block in South Yorkshire, the reviewer gave it only half a star and complained that “it was nothing but four walls and a mattress”. This illustrates how material conditions matter to those arrested and detained by the police whilst an investigation is conducted and a decision is taken about what to do next with the case. The purpose of this paper is to examine the ‘representational’ quality of these material conditions of police custody. Whether detainees have access to natural light and are detained in facilities which appear well maintained conveys to detainees something about how they are perceived by police authorities, by the state and by wider society, meaning that if a custody facility appears well looked after it suggests to detainees that their treatment is likely to follow suit.  These ideas are examined using findings from a five-year ESRC-funded mixed-methods study of ‘good’ police custody which showed that detainee experiences of different types of dignity – linked to feelings of equal worth, autonomy and public decency - were significantly informed by their experiences of the material conditions of police custody. These arguments are also grounded in prison studies research and theorisation. As a result, I also reflect in my presentation on the boundaries between police studies and prison studies, and the possibilities and limitations of greater dialogue between scholars in each field.
Bio: Layla Skinns is a Reader in the Centre for Criminological Research, School of Law, University of Sheffield, having formerly worked and studied at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge and the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, King’s College London. She has a longstanding interest in police and policing, in particular in how policing agents use their authority. A key focus of her research has been on police detention, in England and Wales, but also in other parts of the Anglophone world. In this setting, she is interested in police powers and their relationship with the law, police cultures and police discretion, and furthermore, how this impacts on equality and on state-citizen relations. She is also interested in how the public – particularly detainees – perceive the police, which links her research to discussions about police legitimacy and ‘good’ policing.
Free. Booking required. 

Dr Layla Skinns (Sheffield) A room with a view? Material conditions and the ‘representational’ inside police detention

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