Practitioner Forensic Psychologist
As Director of Forensic Psychological Services at Middlesex University, Joanna works closely with practitioners and those who are involved in implementing criminal and civil justice. She has conducted research and evaluation in the public, private and voluntary sectors, alongside colleagues in the school of Health and Education and the School of Law. Together, they have delivered work that is useful, impactful and underpinned by academic rigour. Professor Adler currently teaches on programmes that run across the two Schools, where she enjoys facilitating students' journeys into becoming ethical, reflective, scientist practitioners.
Joanna is the founder of the Forensic Psychology Research Group and Director of Forensic Psychological Services (FPS), within the School of Science and Technology at Middlesex University. FPS has facilitated greater inter disciplinary work across the University with a focus on justice related research and evaluation. Projects have included collaborations with the SPRC (Social Policy Research Centre) and with the CCRC (Crime and Conflict Research Centre); both centres are part of the School of Law. Current work is most usually conducted with CATS (The Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies) which sits in both the School of Law and School of Science and Technology.
For the academic year 2015-16, Professor Adler is convenor of one module at Postgraduate level: Assessment, Intervention and Professional Practice. This is core to MSc Forensic Psychology. Joanna also contributes to two other postgraduate modules, both of which are core to the MSc in Forensic Psychology: Victims, Offenders and Communities and Psychology of Investigation and Criminal Justice.
Joanna supervises several MSc students each year whose research dissertations include topics such as: previous victimisation of adult, serious offenders; interventions with adult female offenders; internet hate crime.
At an undergraduate level, recent dissertation work supervised has included: a case study of the experiences of a retired homicide detective; media portrayal of serious group offending and exploration of male victims of intimate partner violence. Professor Adler also contributes to our Foundation Psychology module.
The main textbook that Professor Adler has edited is now in its second edition and is routinely used in Forensic Psyhology Masters Degrees across England and Wales: Adler, J. R. & Gray, J. M. (2010) (Eds.) Forensic Psychology: Concepts, debates and practice. 2nd Edition. Cullompton: Willan. ISBN 978-1-84392-414-2 http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9781843924142/ Chapters that she co-authored for the 2nd edition are:
Broadly, Professor Adler's interests relate to how the criminal justice system works and the ramifications of criminal justice within society.
Main Research Interests
For links to Joanna's publications, please see additional readings here or click on the "view more publications" button.
Joanna has supervised 6 doctoral students through to successful completion and is currently the Director of Studies for three PhD students: Mansoor Mir (researching areas of special need and diversity within the provision of the Sex Offenders' Treatment Programme, Sarah Edwards (development of offender empathy and mentalisation) and Maria Scally (understanding of intimate partner violence within child custody hearings). She is also on the supervisory panel for Shola Apena-Rogers (sexual offending on the railways). Please get in touch if you are thinking of applying to us for a PhD in one of her areas of interest.
Gekoski, Anna and Gray, Jacqueline M. and Adler, Joanna R. and Horvath, Miranda A. H. (2017) The prevalence and nature of sexual harassment and assault against women and girls on public transport: an international review. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, 3 (1). pp. 3-16. ISSN 2056-3841
Adler, Joanna R. and Coulson, Mark (2016) The justice data lab synthesis and review of findings. Technical Report. NPC.
Marzano, Lisa and Ciclitira, Karen and Adler, Joanna R. (2016) Non-suicidal self-harm amongst incarcerated men: a qualitative study. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 6 (4). pp. 157-172. ISSN 2009-3829
Martellozzo, Elena and Monaghan, Andrew and Adler, Joanna R. and Davidson, Julia and Leyva, Rodolfo and Horvath, Miranda A. H. (2016) "I wasn’t sure it was normal to watch it…”A quantitative and qualitative examination of the impact of online pornography on the values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of children and young people. Project Report. Middlesex University, NSPCC, OCC.
Jacks, William and Adler, Joanna R. (2015) A proposed typology of online hate crime. Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology, 7 . pp. 64-89. ISSN 1948-5115
Examples from the past 5 years:
Research into crime and offending has a well established history at Middlesex University. It is also an area where Middlesex has been at the forefront of localised, community centred engagement and knowledge exchange. Our work has been continuously refined since the seminal Islington Crime Survey (1986). Since joining the University, Professor Adler has helped to create a forensic psychology presence and worked closely with colleagues from Criminology and Social Policy as we jointly focused on offending behaviour, its impacts on victims of crime and the wider community. Most of her work with Forensic Psychological Services (FPS) at Middlesex, has been directly commissioned. Examples of the knowledge exchange and impact generated highlighted here centre on prisoner interventions; serious group offending; violence against women and girls and victimisation more broadly.
Prisoner Interventions. Kainos research, & Suicide and Self Harm.
Kainos Research Conducted with Jonathan Burnside (Bristol); Nancy Loucks (Independent consultant) and Gerry Rose (Cambridge). In this research, Joanna led the evaluation of psycho-social impacts. This work evaluated the process, outcome and impact of a 3rd party provider of religious, therapeutic regimes within 5 English Prisons. Process related findings centred on matters of recruitment to the wings, equity and human rights. Impact and outcomes indicated that, firstly, prisoners on the Kainos wings were not the most serious of offenders and were relatively less likely to re-offend than the prison population as a whole. However, when compared with similar others (matched on predictive likelihood of re-offending) prisoners on the Kainos wings did indeed re-offend less than similar matches drawn from the national database (OGRS). Kainos units were challenged by commentators and former prisoners whilst the evaluation team were contractually prohibited from commenting and operations were suspended. Once the research findings could be properly considered, 4 out of 5 units were reinstated. The report, book (generating economic impact) and article have been cited within journal special issues and a meta-analysis. The research was included within President G.W. Bush's review of religious regimes and informed UK Home Office policy on the role of such NGO providers. It also led to Professor Adler's team being commissioned for a subsequent evaluation of what was then London Probation Service's ' European Projects (EP). In 2009, Kainos became the second ever non-prison service provider of accredited interventions, well in advance of the current "revolution in rehabilitation".
Suicide and Self Harm in Male Prisons The original research was led by Lisa Marzano, started as part of her PhD. Joanna was the director of studies and Karen Ciclitira was the co-supervisor. Findings on male prisoners' suicidal intent and self harming behaviours and on prison staff responses to them led to policy changes introduced via the Safer Custody Group (on which both Lisa and Joanna sat). Subsequently, Lisa has devised training alongside changes in policy and advice for the British Transport Police (in conjunction with colleagues at Oxford University), which was adopted has been of particular use for those staff directly affected by suicide on the transport network (e.g. train drivers and responding police officers).
Serious Group Offending: Grievance, Exclusion, Gangs and Radicalisation
Grievance, Exclusion and Radicalisation Projects conducted with Louise Ryan and Sarah Marsden (St Andrews). Initially, Professor Adler was the independant advisor for research conducted by Sarah Marsden on the anti-radicalisation work of Stockwell Green Community Services (SGCS). This highlighted areas of impact and challenges for SGCS that informed subsequent growth and strategy as they progressed into post conviction, counter-radicalisation work. The findings influenced the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) when considering the impact of their funding for community partners. This included a specially convened research briefing to the OSCT. SGCS became one of several organisations working as community partners with the London Probation Trust (LPT) as they too, developed strategies to counter radicalisation and work with with offenders sentenced for Terrorist and related offences. Joanna then jointly led a project that was commissioned by LPT, on behalf of NOMS to evaluate the roles and uses of their community partners.
The evaluation of the community partnership approach to countering radicalisation stemmed from the European Projects work Sarah and Joanna had completed for LPT and built on work conducted by Tony Goodman and others regarding Hate Crimes. It was the first empirical evaluation of disengagement work conducted with terrorist offenders and young people at risk of radicalisation (Marsden, Adler and Ryan). The research into supervision of 'TACT ' offenders produced models of government/community partnership working, a database of potential partner agencies and analysis of how partner agencies engaged and challenged offenders. The team's models have been adopted by the Central Extremism Unit and findings were promoted at their 2013 conference Influencing Change: Reflections on desistance with right wing and Al Qaeda inspired offenders. They also led to team contributions to the Carlile review of Prevent policy and some incorporation of their advice within the revised policy.
Hate crimes work has led to 3 conferences, two (2008, 2010) of which Joanna chaired and were part sponsored by Victim Support and The London Probation Trust, respectively (presentations from the conferences are available here). All have attracted speakers and delegates from across Europe resulting in several new practice networks that are still maintained and the 2010 conference brought together for the first time, researchers and practitioners working on extremism and terrorism in Norway, the UK and America with those concerned with hate crimes, working in at least Germany, Hungary, Russia, the UK and France. Subsequently, Joanna worked closely with William Jacks in his development of an internet typology of hate crime. The typology is being used as part of police practice through True Vision and was one of the pieces of research used to inform Google and Facebook's decision to implement better policies on internet hate.
Serious Group Offending related research has included consideration of youth as victims and offenders and the roles, status and agency of girls and young women within serious group offending. Growing Against Gangs and Violence (GAGV) commissioned research which Professor Adler conducted with Miranda Horvath to assess GAGV's interventions with primary and secondary schools in areas with known recruitment to street gangs. The evaluation has resulted in revision to GAGV's materials used across schools. The revisions are directly in line with recommendations made and concern: content; referral pathways for safeguarding vulnerable children; means of embedding within schools; provision of follow up and support materials and development of a web presence to help challenge that of street gangs. GAGV primarily operate within London but have recently expanded to Liverpool and have now been approached to help revise the original program in the USA, from which GAGV's revised version initially stemmed.