Dr Samantha Weston

Dr Samantha Weston

Associate Professor

Dr Samantha Weston is an Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham. Her expertise lies within the area of risk prevention and early intervention. Specifically, Samantha’s research focuses on the role of the police within these spaces in ‘managing’, ‘controlling’ and ‘responding to’ what might be otherwise considered already marginalised populations, including young people and people that use drugs or have experienced mental health crisis. While her work has practical relevance for multi-stakeholder engagement and knowledge exchange across a diverse range of audiences interested in the regulation and management of deviance, it does so through the use of a critical approach. Through her research, Samantha has encouraged the use of criminology as an interdisciplinary lens to understand the intersections between health, social care and criminal justice resulting in a wide range of publications including the book, Mental Health and Offending: Care, Coercion and Control (co-authored with Dr Julie Trebilcock), which was published by Routledge in 2019.


PhD Criminology, University of Manchester, 2013

PGCE Higher Education, Keele University, 2013

MRes Criminology, University of Manchester, 2008

MA Criminology, Keele University, 2001

BA Law and Accounting Studies, Staffordshire University, 2000


Sam Weston joined the University of Birmingham as an Associate Professor of Criminology in 2023 having held a previous academic appointment at Keele University. She joined Keele in 2012 and was later promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018. Before joining Keele and completing her PhD at the University of Manchester, Sam had held a number of research appointments. As a research associate at the University of Manchester, she was involved in a number of Home Office and Department of Health funded research projects covering various aspects of drug misuse treatment. Throughout her career, Sam has maintained an interest in the overarching themes of social inequality, and the exclusion, discrimination and injustice experienced by marginalised communities. Her research can be consolidated under the

overarching theme of ‘Risk Prevention’ with a particular emphasis on the role of the police within these spaces. Sam’s research focuses on the on the intersection between criminal justice and health, with a particular emphasis on how professionals implement criminal justice and health-related policy in practice settings.


LH Drugs: Society, Politics and Policy

Postgraduate supervision

Samantha has supervised PGR projects on a number of topics including: military transitions, drug misuse, harmful sexual behaviour, and policing vulnerability.


Research interests 

  • The illegalisation (criminalisation) of already marginalised populations, including young people and people that use drugs or have experienced mental health crisis
  • The practical implementation of policy at the intersection of between criminal justice and health
  • Vulnerability
  • Risk prevention and early intervention

Other activities

Sam is a steering group member of the British Society of Criminology's Vulnerability Research Network, which was established in 2020 and has previously worked with Staffordshire Police on their Mental Health Street Triage and on the implementation of the National Vulnerability Action Plan. Sam has drawn down funding from the ESRC (CASE studentships), central government (Home Office and Department of Health), the police and the third sector.



Trebilcock, J. and Weston, S. (2019)Mental health and Offending: Care, Coercion and Control, London: Routledge.


Mythen, G. and Weston, S. (2022) ‘Interrogating the Deployment of ‘Risk’ and ‘Vulnerability’ in the Context of Early Intervention Initiatives to Prevent Child Sexual Exploitation’, Health, Risk and Society, 

Weston, S. and Mythen, G. (2021) ‘Disentangling Practitioners’ Understandings of Child Sexual Exploitation: The Risks of Assuming Otherwise?’ Criminology and Criminal Justice, 22(4):618-635 

Weston, S. (2021) INVITED PAPER: ‘A history of abuse: The cumulative harms experienced by the trainspotting generation’, Onati Socio-Legal Series, 11(5), pp. 1153–1178. 

Weston, S. and Mythen, G. (2019) ‘Working with and negotiating 'risk': Examining the effects of awareness raising interventions designed to prevent Child Sexual Exploitation’. British Journal of Criminology, 60(2): 323-342 

Weston, S., Honor, S. & Best, D. (2018) ‘A tale of two towns: A comparative study exploring the possibilities and pitfalls of social capital among people seeking recovery from substance misuse’, Substance Use and Misuse, 53(3): 490-500 

Davies G, Ward J,Elison S, Weston S, Dugdale S, Weekes J. (2017)Implementationand evaluation of the Breaking Free Online and Pillars of Recovery treatment programs for substance-involved offenders’, Advancing Corrections Journal, 3: 95-113.   

Weston, S. (2016) ‘The everyday work of the drug treatment practitioner: The influence and constraints of a risk-based agenda’, Critical Social Policy, 36(4): 511-530

View all publications in research portal