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Early Career Academics Network


The Howard League for Penal Reform’s early career academics network is an internet based network to help you keep in touch with each other, provide a regular channel of communication and information about research and promote closer working and an interface between academics and campaigners. You can link up with other ECAN members through our Facebook group.

The network members’ pages will aim to develop debate, include articles, letters and opinion pieces. There are also periodic events aimed at ECAN members.

You can register to join ECAN here.

Early career opportunities

As part of our widening opportunities for early career researchers, we recruited five ECR Research Advisory Group (RAG) members. More information is available on the RAG webpages, and we will be announcing further activities and opportunities here.

2022 themed issue- Reuniting Probation

In March 2022 we published the themed issue ‘Reuniting Probation’, guest edited by Professor Lol Burke. You can read the bulletin here.

ECAN themed issue: 2020 – a year of crisis or Kairos

In March 2021, we published a themed double issue of the Howard League ECAN Bulletin.

Contributors were encouraged to reflect on 2020 – a year of crisis, and possibly of Kairos. A year in which novel issues have emerged, while other long-standing issues have re-emerged into public consciousness. COVID-19 has caused widespread death and ill health, forced dramatic changes to working practices, and concerns about ongoing wellbeing – not least in relation to those subject to, working within, or otherwise affected by the criminal justice system and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. At the same time, police brutality resulting in several deaths in the US once again highlighted systemic injustice and inequality and provoked widespread and vital self-reflection when thinking about race and privilege. This also inspired worldwide and consequential demonstrations. Structural inequalities have been laid bare by violence and injustice in the criminal justice system. Recognition of a global climate crisis rumbles on in the background. No one issue stands alone.

Contributors include early career academics, practitioners and people affected directly by criminal justice institutions. Written pieces are complemented by audio contributions.

You can find further details about this edition, and the submission process here. You can read part one and part two in our bulletin archive.

We plan to hold an event based around the themes raised in this themed double issue later in the Spring and will communicate details in due course.

ECAN members

The network is intended for academics in their first post or post graduate students aiming for academic or research post.  Anyone working in fields related to criminology, social policy, law, humanities or research interests related to these areas can join the network.

‘The Howard League’s Early Career Academic Network has provided me with a user-friendly and convenient way to develop my research ideas. I always find it constructive to explore other academics’ research interests to reflect and create my unique approach to research. The opportunity that ECAN provides for networking is invaluable, and usually one of the best ways to create opportunities is through meeting others. I will continue to use, and recommend the use of ECAN to others throughout my doctoral research and further into the development of my career as a social researcher.’ Claire de Motte, Nottingham Trent University

Members’ e-bulletin

All members will receive an e-bulletin three times a year providing information about policy developments, resources and campaigns.

ECAN Bulletin Issue 50, March 2022

In this issue you will find:

  • Professional legitimacy and the probation service: Opportunities and challenges after re-unification
    Matt Tidmarsh, University of Leeds
  • Trapped in a cycle: The Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 and the rise in recall to custody
    Matt Cracknell, Middlesex University
  • Learning lessons from and for Building Better Relationships: appreciating and imagining the possibilities
    Nicole Renehan, Durham University
  • Reunified probation: An opportunity to finally progress a desistance paradigm of practice?
    Sam Ainslie, Sheffield Hallam University
  • The community hub model of service delivery: An example of a ‘positive innovation’?
    Andrew Fowler, Jake Phillips, and Katherine Albertson, Sheffield Hallam University

Previous bulletins can be found here.

Join the Howard League for Penal Reform’s Early Career Academics Network

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