We sponsor research to bring about change in how women and girls are dealt with in the criminal justice system

Our fellows

Our Fellows are at the heart of what we do... 

.....and it is in our Vision and Mission that Griffins:

  • harness the experience and knowledge of practitioners working on the front-line;
  • enable them to identify, explore and draw attention to specific issues relating to women and girls in contact with criminal justice;
  • provide them with the opportunity and the capacity to undertake robust and rigorous research whilst remaining in the workplace;
  • that through the use of qualitative research techniques, ensure the reality of the lived experience of women and girls is captured and heard;
  • supports individual growth by encouraging new ways of thinking and developing new skills, broadening experience and understanding and increasing self-confidence;
  • links them with fellow practitioners, academics and policy makers, providing the opportunity to influence and promote change, locally and nationally.  

Now meet some of our current and past fellows......

They are displayed by the year they joined Griffins, with our most recent fellows at the top.


Image of Fellow Sue Jordan

Sue Jordan

I found the fellowship meetings with the Griffins Board indispensable - the support over obstacles kept me going and created a 'bigger picture' context so I didn't confuse impasse as personal failure

Date joined:


For the last 25 years I have worked in the probation service in a variety of settings including courts, youth service, prison, resettlement team and generic field work teams. I have been a Senior Probation Officer for 12 years and have managed teams in the courts and local prison. For 2 years I was seconded to the NOMS Women’s Team that aimed to divert women offenders from custody, promote awareness of this agenda and support the establishment of Women’s Community Centres in line with the recommendations of Baroness Corston’s report. I also helped set up and manage the centre in Leicester.

It was these experiences which led to my interest in exploring the impact of trauma on women’s compliance with the service and applying for a Griffins Society Fellowship to undertake research in this area.

I am currently managing a large city centre NPS team and am the Diversity Champion for the area. I remain keen to undertake more research and promote widespread establishment of trauma-informed environments.

Sue's paper can be found here.


Photo of Fellow, Shelly-Ann McDermott

Shelly-Ann McDermott

Conducting my research with this group of resilient women and dedicated support workers opened up my eyes to the importance, and wider implications, of enabling women to move out of and away from the criminal justice system.

Date joined:


I started my working life as a support worker for women and children survivors of domestic abuse and then as a mentor to young people in an inner city school.  I joined London Probation in 2002, qualified as a Probation Officer in 2004 and worked in a variety of settings, including a Magistrates' Court and a public protection team.  

I have been the Research "Single Point of Contact" within my local delivery unit and have sought opportunities to conduct and disseminate research to practitioner colleagues.  Having completed my Applied Criminology master's dissertation on counterfeit DVD street sellers in 2010, my research article won the 2012 Probation Journal Best Paper Prize.  

After completing my Griffins Society Fellowship, I conducted further research for the Sir Graham Smith Award.  This work examined Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) for potentially dangerous offenders within the community, which was published online in 2014 and within the Probation Institute's "Probation Quarterly" magazine in 2015.  

I currently work for the London Community Rehabilitation Company and hold an exclusively female caseload across a cluster of East London boroughs.  I am a member of the Probation Journal's Editorial Board which enables me to pursue my interests in evidence informed policy and practice.

Shelly's paper can be found here.

Photo of fellow, Jessica Southgate

Jessica Southgate

The fellowship helped me develop invaluable research skills and allowed me to explore an area of gender-specific service delivery in greater depth with the expert supervision of an academic.

Date joined:


My research was in response to increasing political and policy interest in the subject of girls, gangs and serious youth violence, and wider policy and practice developments in the women’s sector at the time. It developed from a personal interest in young women’s experiences of crime and violence, combined with evolving service delivery in this area at the charity I was working for at the time (Platform 51).

My work explored service delivery that aimed to meet the needs of girls and young women by hearing from those working in the field. Since completing the research I have spoken at a number events to different audiences working directly with girls and young women, where I have been able to share recommendations for service development.

Since completing the research I lead on participation with young people in the criminal justice system through the U R Boss project at the Howard League for Penal Reform, and am currently Head of Policy at 4Children as well as a Trustee for Women’s Breakout, the representative body for community based organisations offering gender specific community alternatives to custody for women.

Jessica's paper can be found here.


Photo of fellow Louise Clark

Louise Clark

It (undertaking the fellowship) completely transformed my career; I developed some great professional relationships and was able to apply for jobs and further research opportunities with confidence and expertise.

Date joined:


Carrying out the fellowship enabled me to progress my expertise in criminal justice and further researching sex working. I developed the national programme (Sex Workers in Prison) SWIP (with Griffins and the Prison Service), completed a 4 year sex work research project with Swansea University, chaired the UK NSWP Policy Group and have just been shortlisted for the Churchill grant to travel overseas to conduct more prison related research. I have spoken at events, presented international papers and written articles. I also continued my volunteering with a local sex worker project which enabled me to develop volunteering skills I have since used in other settings.

Louise's paper can be found here.