Professor in Carceral Geography in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) at the University of Birmingham, UK.
Within the Carceral Geography Lab, Dominique is working on a range of research projects concerned with carceral spaces and carcerality.
Her current work is exploring the persistence of the Victorian-era prison in the UK, and the role of ex-military personnel employed as prison staff, considering the linkages between the military and the prison system. A recently completed project funded by the ESRC looked at the relationship between prison visitation and recidivism. Another also funded by ESRC, considered the design and lived experience of prison spaces. Dominique has recently worked on a project looking at memorialisation of the Soviet Gulag, and in 2010 she completed a project with Judith Pallot and Laura Piacentini, looking into women’s experience of imprisonment in contemporary Russia. She has received further funding to undertake research-impact activity with the Northern Ireland Prison Service, in Colombia, and in relation to detention for young people in the UK.
Her monograph, Carceral Geography: Spaces and Practices of Incarceration was published by Ashgate in 2015, following Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention (Ashgate 2013, co-edited with Nick Gill and Deirdre Conlon), and followed by Historical Geography of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past (Routledge 2015) co-edited with Karen Morin. She has recently published Carceral Spatiality: Dialogues between Geography and Criminology, co-edited with Anna Schliehe, with Palgrave (2017). A further edited collection, the Palgrave Handbook of Prison and the Family, co-edited with Marie Hutton, was published in 2020, and she is currently co-editing the Palgrave Handbook of Prison Design with Yvonne Jewkes, Kwan-Lamar Blount-Hill and Vincent St.John.
Her work is transdisciplinary, informed by and extending theoretical developments in geography, criminology and prison sociology, but also interfacing with contemporary debates over hyperincarceration, recidivism and the advance of the punitive state. She has recently published in journals including Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Progress in Human Geography, and Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.
Current and recent research activities
The Prison-Military Complex and Ex-Military Personnel as Prison Officers: Transition, Rehabilitation and Prison Reform This project identifies a key knowledge gap vis-a-vis the role of ex-military personnel employed as prison staff, and poses key questions about the ways in which military staff and military methods are targeted as a means to reform the UK prison service. Thinking beyond stereotypical ideas about ‘the military’, it revolves around a multiscalar articulation of the prison-military complex, as it relates to reform of the prison system as a whole; the rehabilitation of offenders; and individuals’ ex-military transitions to civilian life.
‘Fear-suffused environments or potential to rehabilitate? Prison architecture, design and technology and the lived experience of carceral spaces (£728k) This project addresses two over-arching questions – how are penal aims and philosophies (that is, what prison is ‘for’) expressed in prison architecture and design, and how effective is prison architecture, design and technology (ADT) in conveying and delivering that penal purpose? The study seeks to meet its objectives by (a) studying the process of designing new prison buildings in order to understand what it is that architects are asked to deliver and how they achieve this, and (b) studying ADT’s impacts and effects on a range of end users, focusing on the experience of occupying and moving in and around prison spaces, in relation to prisoners’ quality of life and wellbeing, perceptions of penal legitimacy, compliance with the regime, prisoner-staff relations, staff work satisfaction and so on.
‘Breaking the Cycle’: Prison Visitation and Recidivism in the UK (£361k) This new research project investigates the relationship between prison visitation and recidivism, specifically exploring the spatialities of prison visiting. Macro-level statistical analysis in parallel with innovative mixed-methods research into prison visiting facilities identifies the nature of this relationship and its socio-spatial context, informing policy towards visitation and the design of visiting spaces, and contributing to broader debates about prisoner rehabilitation and resettlement.
Immigrant Detention and ‘Mainstream’ Imprisonment (£17k) Within a wider ESRC Seminar Series, a further research theme followed the experience of detained immigrants within the ‘mainstream’ prison system.
Prison Visitation and Recidivism in Northern Ireland (£2k and £20k) This work, which extends the main ESRC project described above, is funded through the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account at the University of Birmingham. The ESRC IAA enables research staff to respond quickly to take advantage of time-limited opportunities with the potential for non-academic impact across all sectors. Two separate funding awards have enabled a scoping visit to Belfast to plan future work, and a secondment of Post-Doctoral Researcher Marie Hutton to the Northern Ireland Prison Service in summer 2015.
Milieux de Mémoire in Central and Eastern Europe (c£39k) This is an international collaborative research project investigating whether the religious dimension of memory is a marginal phenomenon in Central and Eastern Europe, characteristic solely for the field of religion, or if it is an element shaping the functionality of memory in that geographical region. This project is sponsored by the Polish National Science Centre, no 2013/09/D/HS6/02630 (2014-2017) and is led by The Maria Grzegorzewska Academy of Special Education. Researchers from The Social Memory Laboratory coordinate this project.
Previous research funding includes: Distance and Punishment in Russia (£303k) The majority of women in prison in Russia are held at considerable distances from home, often in remote places difficult for their relatives to access. This now completed research project examined how the isolation suffered by women in Russia’s penal system shapes their experiences of custody and the decisions they make at the end of their sentences.
Recent and forthcoming books and papers:
Moran, D, J Turner & A K Schliehe (2017) Conceptualising the carceral in carceral geography Progress in Human Geography DOI: 10.1177/0309132517710352
Moran, D & T Disney (2017) ‘It’s a horrible, horrible feeling’: Ghosting and the layered geographies of absent–presence in the prison visiting room Social and Cultural Geography DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2017.1373303
Gill, N, D Conlon, D Moran & A Burridge (2016) Carceral circuitry: New directions in carceral geography Progress in Human Geography
Moran, D, J Turner & Y Jewkes (2016) Becoming big things: Building events and the architectural geographies of incarceration in England and Wales Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Moran, D, M A Hutton, L Dixon & T Disney (2016) ‘Daddy is a difficult word for me to hear’: Carceral geographies of parenting and the prison visiting room as a contested space of situated fathering Children’s Geographies DOI:10.1080/14733285.2016.1193592
Moran, D & Y Jewkes (2015) Linking the carceral and the punitive state: A review of research on prison architecture, design, technology and the lived experience of carceral space Annales de Géographie 124 (702-703) 163-184
Morin, K & D Moran [Eds] (2015) Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past Routledge, London
Jewkes, Y & D Moran (2015) The paradox of the ‘green’ prison: sustaining the environment or sustaining the penal complex? Theoretical Criminology 19 (4) 451-469
Moran, D (2015) Budgie Smuggling or Doing Bird? Human-Animal Interactions in Carceral Space: Prison(er) Animals as Abject and Subject Social and Cultural Geography 16 (6) 634-653 doi: 10.1080/14649365.2014.1001429
Moran, D (2015) Carceral Geography: Spaces and Practices of Incarceration Ashgate, Farnham
Moran, D & Y Jewkes (2014) ‘Green’ Prisons: Rethinking the ‘Sustainability’ of the Carceral Estate Geographica Helvetica 69 345-353
Moran, D (2014) Leaving behind the ‘Total Institution’? Teeth, TransCarceral Spaces and (Re)Inscription of the Formerly Incarcerated Body Gender, Place & Culture 21 (1) 35-51
Jewkes, Y & D Moran (2014) Should Prison Architecture be Brutal, Bland or Beautiful? Scottish Justice Matters 2, 1, 8-11
Moran, D., J Pallot & L Piacentini (2013) Privacy in Penal Space: Women’s Imprisonment in Russia Geoforum 47, 138-146
Moran, D. (2013) Carceral Geography and the Spatialities of Prison Visiting: Visitation, Recidivism and Hyperincarceration Environment and Planning D: Society & Space 31 (1) 174 – 190
Moran, D. (2013) Between Outside and Inside: Prison Visiting Rooms as Liminal Carceral Spaces. GeoJournal
Moran, D. (2012) “Doing Time” in Carceral Space: TimeSpace and Carceral Geography Geografiska Annaler B 94 (4) 301-316
Moran, D. & A Keinänen (2012) The ‘Inside’ and ‘Outside’ of Prisons: Carceral Geography and Home Visits for Prisoners in Finland Fennia: International Journal of Geography
Moran, D. (2012) Prisoner Reintegration and the Stigma of Prison Time Inscribed on the Body. Punishment & Society 14(5) 564-583
Moran, D., Piacentini, L. and Pallot, J. (2012), Disciplined mobility and carceral geography: prisoner transport in Russia. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 37: 446–460