Helen Kosc

Helen Kosc Portrait




Helen Kosc

DPhil in Sociology 

Thesis: They All Come Out: Mapping the Desistence Journeys of 150 prison-leavers over 18-months

Supervisor(s): David Kirk

Helen Kosc is a Doctoral Student at the Sociology Department. She joined upon completing her MSc at Oxford in the 2020-2021 academic year. She is from Toronto, Canada and has extensive experience working with, and volunteering for, Correctional Services Canada (CSC). Read more about how her experience with CSC inspired her current research here.

For her Doctoral research, Helen is conducting an unprecedented, long-term and large-scale ethnographic study of prison resettlement. She is investigating the resettlement journeys of 150 prison-leavers from one local category-B prison, HMP Bullingdon, over the course of 18-months. This project is a collaborative effort between Helen, the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, and ‘RESTART’ Thames Valley. She hopes to learn about the mechanisms that contribute to the desistence vs persistence of criminal activity by speaking to prison leavers and practitioners directly.

Helen has had extensive research experience in the field of criminal justice: she was a Research Assistant for the largest experimental audit study measuring discriminative hiring of ex-offenders in Europe, with Dr Marti Rovira. She has also co-authored a chapter in the newest Oxford Handbook of Evidence-Based Crime and Justice Policy, with Professor David Kirk. Most recently, she was invited to present preliminary findings to 800 expert delegates from over 78 countries at the International Corrections & Prisons Association Annual Conference in Antwerp, Belgium, and serves on the Editorial Board of the ‘Advancing Corrections’ Journal.

Research Interests: Criminology; Socio-legal studies; Re-entry & Reintegration; Prison Reform; Criminal Justice Policies & Practice

Fellowships & Awards:

Adam Smith Doctoral Fellowship, The Mercatus Center (2023-2024)

Canadian Centennial Scholarship Fund, Fellow (2023-2024)

Institute of Humane Studies, Doctoral Grant Recipient (2023-2024)

Elinor Ostrom Doctoral Fellowship, The Mercatus Center (2022-2023)

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Finalist (2022)

Best Student Paper Award, Canadian Sociological Association (2022)


Kosc, Helen & Kirk, David. (2024). ‘Making Prisoner Reentry Evidence-Based’, The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-Based Crime and Justice Policy, 326-348 https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-handbook-of-evidence-based-crime-and-justice-policy-9780197618110?cc=gb&lang=en&#

Kosc, Helen. (2024). ‘A Home for Christmas: Leaving Prison Amidst a National Housing Crisis’, British Society of Criminology Blog. https://thebscblog.wordpress.com/2024/01/10/a-home-for-christmas-leaving-prison-amidst-a-national-housing-crisis/

Kosc, Helen. (2023). ‘Rehabilitating Reintegration: Research and Reflections on What Works’, in What is Effective Reintegration? Advancing Corrections Journal, 15, 12-18. https://icpa.org/resources/advancing-corrections-journal.html

Kosc, Helen. (2023). ‘They All Come Out: Mapping the Desistence Journeys of 200 Men Leaving HM Prison Bullingdon over 18 Months’, International Corrections & Prisons Association Annual Conference, presentation can be viewed here: https://icpa.org/resource/icpa2023-pid077-helen-kosc.html

Kosc, Helen. (2021). ‘Outsourcing Responsibility: A Review of Virginia Eubanks’ ‘Automating Inequality: How High- Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor,’” St Antony’s International Review, 16(2), 377-380. https://www.jstor.org/stable/27256515

Kosc, Helen. (2021). Freedom Amidst Crisis: Experiences of Inmate Re-entry during the Covid-19 Pandemic, and Implications for Support Networks and Services. Master’s Thesis, University of Oxford, Department of Sociology.

Kosc, Helen. (2021). ‘Modern Man’s Predicament: How the Reorganizing of Temporal Rhythms has Influenced Contemporary Consumption Practices in North America’, Social Problems Journal.

Kosc, Helen. (2019). ‘Not Part of the Sentence: An Examination of the Flaws in Canadian Correctional Facilities’, Social Problems Journal.