Dr Sarah Brooks-Wilson

Dr Sarah Brooks-Wilson

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Lecturer in Criminology
Dissertation Convenor

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sarah's academic research is concerned with children and young people’s varied journey impediments and their consequences.

Ideas are drawn from the new mobilities paradigm in order to problematise underexplored areas of children and young people’s lives.In particular, the rejection of static-place based societal understandings, allows movement inequalities to instead be foregrounded. Her research particularly develops ideas about convicted children’s contradictory mobilities, which arise from the coupling of ‘kinetic underclass’ membership with heightened compulsory journey demands, following a conviction. When not present and punctual, adverse outcomes can include long term unmet needs, service withdrawal and punishment. Her research strives to support the effective and proportionate treatment of children and young people who have a limited strategic voice in this somewhat overlooked policy area. As such, her recent academic work has become focused on the call for policy change through a ‘minimum mobility standard’, below which no child should fall. The Standard calls for an obligatory journey support offer to be made when children present with personal, household, locality/transport and service delivery problems that can result in journey impediments.

She has been working on an ESRC project in collaboration with Cheshire and Coventry Youth Justice Services. The project objectives are to design and distribute a visual communication tool that supports the enhancement of practice conversations on journey problems. The tool has been co-designed with young people in Cheshire and piloted by practitioners in Coventry. This tool forms an informal practice partnership with the policy-based minimum mobility standard. Following distribution within and beyond the youth justice sector, anticipated outcomes will include effective practice, enhanced attendance/engagement and a limitation of adverse outcomes, including prolonged unmet needs and punishment.  


  • PhD in Social Policy, University of York
  • MRes Social Policy, University of York
  • BA (Hons) Social Policy, University of York
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education


  • Crime and the City
  • Youth, Crime and Justice
  • Undergraduate Dissertation Workshops
  • Postgraduate Dissertation Workshops

Other activities

  • Youth Justice Board Academic Advisory Panel Member (current)
  • Trustee, Association of Panel Members (current)
  • Postgraduate Committee Secretary, British Society of Criminology (2016-2017)
  • Executive Committee Member, Social Policy Association (2011-2014)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Recent publications


Brooks-Wilson, S 2020, 'Rethinking youth justice journeys: complex needs, impeded capabilities and criminalisation', Youth Justice, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 309-327. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473225419893791

Brooks-Wilson, S & Snell, C 2012, '“Hard to Reach” or “Accessible When Approached”? Sustainable Development Discussions with Marginalized Pupil Groups', Children, Youth and Environments, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 1. https://doi.org/10.7721/chilyoutenvi.22.2.0001

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Brooks-Wilson, S 2020, How geographical and ideological proximity impact community youth justice (in)accessibility in England and Wales. in E Heins, J Rees & M Pomati (eds), Social Policy Review 32. vol. 32, Policy Press/SPA, Bristol.

Snell, C & Brooks-Wilson, S 2014, Education for sustainable development and welfare reform: a very British case study? in T Fitzpatrick (ed.), International Handbook on Social Policy and the Environment. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK, Cheltenham, pp. 376.


Brooks-Wilson, S & Snell, C 2010, '‘Bad for the penguins … because they need ice and that to live on’: an exploratory study into the environmental views, concerns and knowledge of socially disadvantaged young people', Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 151. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676260903233704

View all publications in research portal