O'Donnell to head UCD Institute of Criminology


The Institute of Criminology in UCD has a new director. He is Dr Ian O'Donnell, who has worked in the institute since it was set up in 2000.

The Institute of Criminology was set up as part of the law faculty in UCD as an academic centre that would conduct research on crime, criminal justice and the penal system in Ireland.

It also aims to enhance public understanding of crime and the causes of crime, and provides both training and formal education. It has a team of researchers, as well as Dr O'Donnell, who takes over from Prof Finbar McAuley, who has been acting director for the last few years.

The institute collaborates with national and international organisations, including Government departments, other research institutes and the community and voluntary sector.

Before joining the institute Dr O'Donnell was director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust. This followed nine years in England, including five as research officer at the Oxford University Centre for Criminological Research, and Fellow of Linacre College.

Although he is not a lawyer, he sat as a magistrate on the Oxford bench and was a member of the board of visitors at Pentonville prison in London.

He has conducted research into suicide prevention, armed robbery, victimisation and bullying in prisons, and mandatory drug testing. He is a joint author of the recent report for the National Crime Council, Crime in Ireland, Trends and Patterns 1950 to 1998.

Dr O'Donnell told The Irish Times: "The institute has a role to play within UCD as it reshapes itself to become a leading research-intensive university, and within society more broadly as the problems of crime and punishment begin to receive the academic attention they deserve."