Welcome to my blog

I thought this would be a great way to tell everyone about the many interesting things that I do in my professional life as a researcher, writer and educator. At the moment, my interest is mainly focused on policing and more specifically on police custody i.e. where people are taken on arrest whilst a decision is reached about charge. Watch this space for updates on my whirlwind academic life.

About Me

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Layla Skinns is a Senior Lecturer in criminology in the Centre for Criminological Research at the School of Law, University of Sheffield. Before joining the Centre for Criminological Research, Layla worked at the University of Cambridge, where she was the Adrian Socio-Legal Research Fellow at Darwin College and a Teaching Associate on the MSt. in Applied Criminology for senior police, prison and probation staff. Whilst working as a Research Fellow at Darwin College, she co-organised the prestigious Darwin College Lecture Series on the theme of risk. Her qualifications are: MA (Hons) Sociology and Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 2000; MPhil Criminological Research, University of Cambridge, 2001 and PhD Criminology, University of Cambridge, 2005

Friday, 22 October 2010

Cambridge is great for talks by brilliant speakers

I have had the pleasure of going to two amazing talks this week. The first was given by sociogist, Professor Loic Wacquant on 'race and the penal system'. At the start, he said the lecture would be like a 'trapeze', which it was. Nonetheless there were some great nuggets in there.

The second was given by Sir Professor Antony Bottoms and Dr Justice Tankebe on 'Understanding Legitimacy: A Dialogic Relationship within Institutional Normative Order'. The abstract for this is below. The theory that they outlined really moves the debate about police legitimacy forward, by helping us to think about police legitimacy as a process and as something that changes over time.

I only wish I had the time to go to a third and a fourth lecture today, which are to be given by Professor Manuel Castells on (a) The Multidimensional Crisis of Informational Capitalism (b) Alternative Economic Cultures in a Context of Crisis

However, I actually have rather a lot of work to do. My main focus this week has been on my research on the overnight detention of juveniles in police custody, although with a few other bits and pieces being done simultaneously.

That the idea of legitimacy has become a key topic in criminal justice research is beyond question. Yet claims by criminal justice agencies and citizens’ responses to those claims. We legitimacy remains under-theorised. Our aim in this seminar is to try to correct this lacuna in legitimacy research within criminology. We argue, developing an insight by Max Weber, that legitimacy is dialogic, involving continuous  further argue that the tension/conflict/consensus inherent in this claim–response dialogue reflects congruities and incongruities between law and morality in any ‘institutional normative order’ (an important concept developed by Neil MacCormick). It is argued that such an understanding of legitimacy moves attention quickly beyond its implications for legal compliance and cooperation with legal authorities (the principal focus of criminologists at present); instead, attention begins also to focus on the implications of legitimacy for the understanding of stability and change in criminal justice organizations, and their role within wider society.

Monday, 18 October 2010

New research - The detention of juveniles overnight in police custody

Another bit of exciting news is that I've recently been commissioned by the Howard League to write a report looking at the overnight detention of juveniles in police custody.


My first book

I'm rather delighted to announce the publication of my first book on 7 December 2010. The book will be launched in conjunction with a report I am writing for the Howard League for Penal Reform. All exciting stuff.


Legal aid budget to face the axe


Forthcoming talks

I will be talking at the Centre for Criminal Law at University College London on 1 November 2010 on 'Legal advice in the police station: past, present and future'.

What better time to be talking about this given the impending cuts to the legal aid budget? Do come along if you can.