Studentship opportunity

Does Prison Kill? Using linked datasets to examine relationships between imprisonment, inequality and mortality

This studentship is funded by the ESRC through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences

University of Glasgow
Socio-Legal Studies and Criminology
Mode of study

Full time / Part time

Application deadline
19 April 2019

Project details

People who have been to prison die earlier from all causes than those who have not, and the reasons for this are not well understood. Ex-prisoners have higher mortality rates for causes of death due to suicide, homicide, accidental overdose, as well as higher all-cause mortality levels. Research to date has focused on the poor health and complex needs and issues of many people prior to or following time in prison, and only recently have researchers begun to set these issues in a wider context of deprivation and inequality and to consider the health effects of prison. This project will link a range of Scottish datasets including mortality, prison experience, health, education and neighbourhood to explore relationships between health, deprivation and imprisonment. The aggregate picture revealed in the data linkage project will allow for analyses that can enrich understanding of the interactions of imprisonment, mortality and inequality. Overall, the project aims to identify how particular contextual factors, such as living in poverty, poor housing conditions, lack of educational attainment, and poor health circumstances interact to produce the material consequences that result in a person ending up in prison; and secondly, to document how the nature and length of imprisonment impacts on risk of mortality and other health outcomes. A specific contribution of this research is in relating the analysis to an understanding of imprisonment as an aspect of inequality and social exclusion that can have lethal effects for individuals. This project thereby would significantly contribute to our understanding of the nature and profound effects of inequality in the prisoner journey and enable policy makers and practitioners to more effectively respond to these challenges and prevent early deaths.

About the institution

The student would be registered in the Sociology Subject that is part of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow. The successful applicant also would become part of the 60-strong PhD community within the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), a four university partnership between Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Strathclyde Universities; and this project involves cross supervision between the lead supervisor (Sarah Armstrong) based at Glasgow University and the second supervisor (Susan McVie) based at Edinburgh University. Glasgow University, its College of Social Sciences and both Sociology at Glasgow and SCCJR offer a range of development training and opportunities including PhD workshops, conferences and student-led initiatives.


Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
  • A good first degree (at least 2:1), preferably with a social science component
  • Demonstrate an interest in, and some knowledge of imprisonment issues including those relating to health and wellbeing
  • Demonstrate an interest in, and potential aptitude for, analyzing and linking data related to health, criminal history, neighbourhood, census data and imprisonment

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here.

Award details

  • The award may be applied for on a 1+3 (one year funded MRes plus 3 year funded PhD period) or a +3 (for candidates with an appropriate Masters) basis.
  • The award can be available on a part-time or full-time basis
  • An annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2019/20 rate £15,009 full-time)
  • Fees at the standard Home rate
  • Students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year

Other information

All applicants should complete the Supervisor Led Awards Eligibility Checker prior to submitting an application.

How to apply

  1. All applicants should complete the Supervisor Led Awards Eligibility Checkerprior to submitting an application.
  2. Applicants register on GradHub and fill out EO data (this is a requirement of the application process)
  3. Applicants complete and upload the prescribed list of required documentation to include:
  • Application form
  • Academic transcripts
  • References
  • CV
  • Any other additional questions as specified by the supervising team – this should be uploaded in a standalone document with a naming convention as follows


  1. Applicants submit application through GradHub (button below)

Selection process

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by 03 May 2019. Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the PhD programme at the University of Glasgow after they are selected for funding.

Supervisor/Contact details

Sarah Armstrong