Alaina Turner

Alaina Turner

PhD Criminology

What Faculty are you based in?

I am based in the Criminology Department within the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law.

How did you come to study at Swansea University?

I decided to return to education in my early 40s after spending 20 years in the IT industry. I refreshed my education through an access course at my local Further Education College and applied to Swansea University to study Criminology.

I began my journey with the Criminology Department in September 2015 and completed a BSc in the summer of 2018 where I gained a first degree in addition to three awards for Highest Achiever, Highest Overall mark for Dissertation and Excellence in Child-Focused Research. The latter two awards were for my final year dissertation which helped me define my research interest as shaping the lives of children. Whilst completing an MA in Applied Criminal Justice and Criminology within the same department I applied for and gained a four-year Economic and Social Research Council-funded place at

What is your research topic?

My research topic is a Zemiological examination of child-focused policy in Wales – it looks at the structures that are developed to support children that can cause unintended harms such as institutionalisation and criminalisation.

What led to your interest in this area?

Through my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Criminology, where youth justice became a core grounding of my studies, and through my experience of growing up in a deprived area of Swansea that reported a high crime rate, I am fascinated with the triggers that lead some children to criminogenic pathways that can shape the rest of their lives.

What do you hope to achieve with your research?

It is hoped that my research, which will work closely with children, service providers and policy makers, will gain new understandings in how hidden harms can impact, and therefore alter, the course of the lives of children.

What are the best things about conducting your research at Swansea University?

There are many things that make researching at Swansea University a unique and rewarding experience. Firstly, the Criminology Department regard all their students as part of the team. From the minute you start your undergraduate degree you feel the academic staff are with you every step of the way. Secondly, the unwavering support gained through the Students’ Union for the postgraduate research team, and lastly the wider postgraduate research team of academic and support staff that understand the importance of early year researchers, and guide and support them, moving mountains to make their experience and their research the best they can possibly be.

What are your plans for the future?

During my time at Swansea University, I have worked closely with the Criminology Department and supported them whenever I could, just as they have supported me. I have gained experience in presenting at undergraduate and postgraduate open days, taught undergraduate seminars, represented the University through a student ambassador role and supported my fellow students through Students’ Union representative roles. I hope to continue with this relationship with the University throughout my PhD and beyond. Education is a fantastic gift that I would feel honoured to give to future students.