Dr Zoe Stephenson MSc, PhD

Dr Zoe Stephenson

School of Psychology
Lecturer in Forensic Psychology

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Stephenson is a lecturer in Forensic Psychology for the Forensic Psychology Practice Doctorate (ForenPsyD) and the Continued Professional Development (CPD) programmes. Her research projects have focused on female offending, the rehabilitation of violent and sex offenders in the UK, youth offending, alternatives to accredited treatment programmes (e.g. applied theatre), and alternatives to imprisonment.


PhD (Birmingham), ‘Treatment of offenders: The delivery and sequencing of interventions’

M.Sc. Forensic Psychology (Gloucestershire)

B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology with Sociological Studies (Gloucestershire)


Zoe has worked in academia for the last six years in capacities such as Psychology lecturer (BSc Psychology), Course Leader (BSc Psychology), Lecturer (MSc Forensic Psychology), Instructor (Forensic Psychology), and has been in the role of Lecturer in Forensic Psychology for the last year at the University of Birmingham. 

She has conducted research in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on the topic of the sequencing of interventions with offenders.  She has also recently conducted analyses for the Council of Europe into alternatives to imprisonment. 


Zoe currently lectures on the doctorate programme on the topics of research methods, training provision in forensic settings and qualitative analysis.  She supervises a number of Forensic Doctorate and CPD trainees and provides additional one to one support for UG and PG students.

In line with her research interests, she guest lectures on the topics of female offending and managing offenders in the community.


Rehabilitation with sexual and violent offenders
Interventions used in prison or the community aimed to reduce the likelihood of an offender committing further crimes following their sentence. In addition to the content of the intervention (e.g., thinking skills, literacy skills, anger management) it is also necessary to consider the delivery of interventions such as timing (i.e., is an offender motivated to change?) and sequencing (i.e., should an offender take part in interventions in a particular order?).

Female offending
Although female crime rates are still lower than those of their male counterparts for the majority of crimes, it is thought that female crime may be on the rise. The need to consider gender specific risk factors for offending has been recognised with the aim of developing gender specific interventions to reduce rates of re-offending.



Tonks, S., & Stephenson, Z. (2018). Disengagement from street gangs: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 0, 1-29.  

Stephenson, Z., & Watson, A. (2018), Scratching the Surface: A service evaluation of an applied theatre intervention for female offenders. Prison Service Journal: Special Edition – The Arts in Prison, 239, 16 – 21.

Stephenson, Z., Woodhams, J., & Harkins, L. (2018). The sequencing of interventions with offenders: views of offender managers and supervisors. Journal of Forensic Practice. doi: 10.1108/JFP-02-2018-0003

Cooke, E., Stephenson, Z., & Rose, J. (2017). How do professionals experience working with offenders diagnosed with personality disorder within a prison environment? The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 28 (6), 841 – 862.

Stephenson, Z., Woodhams, J., & Harkins, L. (2017). The sequencing and delivery of interventions: Views of Imprisoned for Public Protection (IPP) prisoners in the UK. Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice, 17 (4), 275 – 294. 

Stephenson, Z., Woodhams, J., Cooke, C. (2014). Sex differences in predictors of violent and non-violent juvenile offending. Journal of Aggressive Behaviour, 40, 165-177.

Stephenson, Z., Harkins, L., & Woodhams, J. (2013). The sequencing of interventions with offenders: An addition to the responsivity principle. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 13, 429-455.

Conference presentation

Zoe Stephenson, Jessica Woodhams, Leigh Harkins and Tony Beech (2013). The sequencing of interventions with offenders. British Psychological Society, Division of Forensic Psychology (DFP) conference.

Zoe Stephenson, Jessica Woodhams and Leigh Harkins (2012). The sequencing of interventions with offenders. Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group conference.

Zoe Stephenson, Jessica Woodhams and Claire Cooke (2012). Gender difference in predictors of violent offending. British Psychological Society, Division of Forensic Psychology conference. 

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