Professor Yvonne Jewkes from the University’s Department of Social & Policy Sciences has won this year’s MRS President’s Medal for her innovative research about the impact of penal architecture on prisoners and prison staff.

Having joined Bath in 2018, Professor Jewkes has since spearheaded new criminology undergraduate courses at the University in addition to leading major, new ESRC research into prison design and rehabilitation at HMP Berwyn. Last year, in recognition of her contributions to prison research and rehabilitation, she won the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2020.

The MRS is the UK professional body for research, insight and analytics. This year is the tenth year in which a President’s Medal has been awarded to an organisation or individual deemed to have made an extraordinary contribution to research.

Both MRS and ESRC awards are in recognition of Professor Jewkes’ involvement in the development of new prisons in England, Wales, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand – all of which have been designed with rehabilitative goals being given at least equal priority to punishment and security objectives.

This includes the development of a new women’s prison in Limerick, Ireland which is due to open in 2022. It is hoped this will rival Scandinavian facilities in design by providing a calm and creative space where women are able to take control of their lives and build better futures.

On selecting the winner, President of MRS, Jan Gooding said: “This was an incredibly challenging sector to influence. Yet Professor Jewkes translated her findings into progressive actions, changed people’s thinking and informed the architecture of hope.”

Commenting on the award, Professor Jewkes said: “I’m delighted to be awarded the prestigious MRS President’s Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Research, for my ESRC-supported research programme into the rehabilitative potential of prison architecture and design. My research is continuing to have real-world impact on prison planning and design in the UK and overseas and is fundamentally changing the way many corrections services view people in prison.”

Dr Sarah Moore, Head of the Department of Social & Policy Sciences, said: "This is an outstanding achievement, and very well deserved. Yvonne's contribution to research on prison design has been highly impactful - leading to real change, and meaningful improvements to the lives of people in prison."

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Professor David Galbreath, added: "Professor Jewkes’ work continues to make significant and important impacts on prison design both here in the UK and abroad. This accolade is a clear recognition of the value of this work and the contributions she is making here at the University of Bath in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences."