David Sheldon

David Sheldon

Birmingham Law School
Doctoral researcher

Contact details


  • Criminal Law and Justice LLM (University of Birmingham)
  • LLB (Hons) Law (University of Birmingham)


Having studied at the University of Birmingham for my undergraduate and postgraduate degree, I found an interest in prison sociology; particularly in the experiences of vulnerable prisoners. This led to my interest in the sociology of imprisoned sexual offenders and how this may differ in some respects to the general prisoner population. 

Doctoral research

PhD title
An ethnographic study into the nature, frequency and extent of violence amongst imprisoned sexual offenders
Law PhD / PhD by Distance Learning / MPhil / MJur


Historically, there has been a lack of sociological insight into the experiences of sexual offenders in prison. It has often been said that they reside at the bottom of the prisoner social hierarchy and as such are open targets for verbal and physical abuse from other prisoners. However, given that sexual offenders now comprise 16% of the entire prisoner population, it is time that academic attention is shifted towards them. This research also comes at a time where prison violence is on the rise amongst the general population but not sexual offenders. Therefore the aim of my doctoral research is to uncover the nature, extent and frequency of violence between imprisoned sexual offenders but also to examine the sociology of this specific sub-group of prisoners which have for too long been ignored. 

Co-supervisor: Dr Kate Gooch (University of Leicester)

Other activities

Conference Organisation

  • Organiser of the Crime and Control Ethnography Symposium 2016 held at the University of Birmingham
  • Co-Organiser of the Midlands Postgraduate research Conference 2016 held at the University of Birmingham

Funding Bids

  • CAL Postgraduate Development Fund, Bid for Crime and Control Ethnography Symposium. Awarded £1330 October 2015

Organisation Membership

  • Member of the British Society of Criminology

Other Teaching Activities

  • A2B access scheme module teaching

Conference papers

  • D Sheldon (2016) ‘Exploring the Emotional Impact of Imprisonment on Sexual Offenders’ Emotion and Criminal Justice Conference, De Montfort University
  • D Sheldon (2016) ‘Prison and the New Drugs Problem’, Work-in-Progress Seminar Series, Birmingham Law School
  • Plenary speaker at Crime and Control Ethnography Symposium 2016 with Dr Kate Gooch and Dr James Treadwell
  • J Treadwell, Gooch K and D Sheldon, (2016) ‘Mamba, Mobiles, Machismo and more – Ultra Realist Approaches to Prison Violence’ British Society of Criminology Conference
  • D Sheldon, (2016) ‘We Aren’t Like Other Offenders, We Are Sex Offenders’: An Ethnographic Study into the Experiences of Imprisoned Sexual Offenders, British Society of Criminology Conference



  • J Treadwell, K Gooch and D Sheldon, ‘Towards an Ultra Realist Understanding of Contemporary English Prison Masculinity’ (Forthcoming in Theoretical Criminology)

Book Chapters

  • K Gooch and D Sheldon, ‘Doing time, not enjoying time’: the meaning of leisure in prison, in Deviant Leisure, (Palgrave. 2018)

Book Reviews

  • D Sheldon, The Palgrave Handbook of Prison Ethnography, (Forthcoming in Crime, Media, Culture)