Dr Avril Brandon


Lecturer/Assistant Professor

New House
(01) 4747208


Dr Avril Brandon joined the Department of Law as an Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Criminology in September 2019. Her research explores ethnic prejudice in the criminal justice system and the experience of minority ethnic and foreign national groups within the system. 

She received her PhD from UCD School of Psychology, completing research entitled: ‘Investigating the role of ethnic prejudice in the Irish criminal justice system.’. Within this interdisciplinary project, she carried out quantitative analysis on sentencing data provided by the Irish Prison Service to ascertain whether sentencing differences were visible between Irish and non-Irish nationals (Brandon & O’Connell, 2018); she examined whether punitive attitudes differed based on offender and victim ethnicity; and she conducted qualitative research, interviewing members of the Irish Travelling Community and An Garda Síochána to explore the nature of their relationship. Throughout this project, she engaged with a number of key stakeholders, including Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, An Garda Síochána, the Irish Prison Service and the Irish Probation Service. She was awarded a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship from the Irish Research Council for this research.

Following completion of her doctoral research, Dr Brandon has begun to examine the prison-release experience of members of the Irish Travelling community. This project has been designed in collaboration with Professor Denis Bracken (University of Manitoba).

She welcomes
 research proposals in these areas from prospective PhD candidates.

Research Interests

Her research focuses on ethnic prejudice within the criminal justice system, and the experiences of minority ethnic and foreign national groups engaged with the system. 

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
Exploring the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Prison Staff PI 29/09/2021 4908
Access to Rights & Justice for Migrants and Ethnic Minority People in the Penal System Co-PI 02/03/2021 27/04/2022 9979
Examining the prison release experience of the Irish Travelling community in Ireland. Co-PI 7230
Examining the Impact of Covid-19 Prison Lockdowns on Minority Ethnic and Foreign National Prisoners Co-PI 19/10/2020 19/10/2021
Investigating the Role of Ethnic Prejudice in the Irish Criminal Justice System Doctoral Researcher 13/01/2014 04/09/2019 24000
Exploring the experience of open prisons in Ireland. Co-PI Examining prisoners’ experiences of open prisons in Ireland. Collaborative project with Dr Ian Marder (Maynooth University) and Dr Joe Garrihy (Birmingham City University).
Examining the impact of CyberSafeIreland online safety talks in primary schools. PI 01/04/2019 30/09/2020 4500
Exploring the impact of student mobility and extracurricular engagement on academic performance and graduate employability. PI 04/11/2018 29/11/2019 36000
Evidence review on ethnic monitoring in the Criminal Justice System PI The proposed project is a rapid evidence review, utilising a comprehensive literature analysis and interviews with relevant stakeholders in the following jurisdictions: Ireland; England and Wales; Canada; Australia; and New Zealand. These jurisdictions have been selected both for their comparability with Ireland as a common-law jurisdiction; and to facilitate discussion of the monitoring of Indigenous minority ethnic groups (Ireland: Irish Travelling community; New Zealand: Māori community; Australia: Indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islander peoples; Canada: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples). Notably, in England and Wales, the Irish Travelling community are often grouped under the ‘GRT’ acronym for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller. The implications of this will be explored. 28/11/2022 30/06/2023 7488

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2024 Brandon, Avril Margaret; Emandache, Erika; Iwaniec, Aleksandra (2024) 'Social Media, Newsworthiness, and Missing White Woman Syndrome: A Criminological Analysis'. Social Sciences, 13 (1). [Link] https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci13010044
2018 Brandon A.; O'Connell M. (2018) 'Same crime: Different punishment? investigating sentencing disparities between irish and non-irish nationals in the irish criminal justice system'. British Journal of Criminology, 58 (5):1127-1146. [DOI] [Full-Text]


Year Publication
2022 Avril Brandon & Gavin Dingwall (2022) Minority Ethnic Prisoners and the COVID-19 Lockdown Issues, Impacts and Implications. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press.

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2021 Brandon, A., Hetherington, C. & Redmond, B. (2021) 'Exploring the Impact of Student Mobility and Extracurricular Engagement on Academic Performance and Graduate Outcomes' In: Sustaining the Future of Higher Education. The Netherlands : Brill. [Link] https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004467804_010
2023 Brandon, A.; Dingwall, G. (2023) 'Contextualising the Impact of the Covid-19 Lockdown on Ethnic Minority Prisoners' In: Covid-19 and Criminal Justice: Impact and Legacy in England and Wales. London : Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003281481

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2021 Avril Brandon & Gavin Dingwall (2021) Lockdown: The Impact of Covid-19 on Minority Ethnic Prisoners Crime and Harm: Challenges of social and global justice? The Open University, 07/07/2021-09/07/2021.
2021 Avril Brandon & Gavin Dingwall (2021) Contextualising the Impact of the Covid-19 Lockdown on Ethnic Minority Prisoners COVID-19 and the ‘Crisis’ in Criminal Justice University of the West of England - UWE Bristol, 21/07/2021-.

Published Report

Year Publication
2022 Doyle, David; Brandon, Avril; Garrihy, Joe; Adanan, Amina; Bracken, Denis (2022) Sometimes I'm missing the words: The rights, needs and experiences of foreign national and minority ethnic groups in the Irish penal system. Irish Penal Reform Trust, . [Link] [Full-Text]
2021 Adanan, Amina, Brandon, Avril Margaret. & Bracken, Denis (2021) Training Brief for the Irish Prison Service and Irish Probation Service. Irish Penal Reform Trust, .
2020 Brandon, Avril Margaret, Redmond, Bairbre & Hetherington, Caroline (2020) Exploring the Impact of Student Mobility and Extracurricular Engagement on Academic Performance and Graduate Outcomes. Universitas 21, . [Link]

Book Review

Year Publication
2023 Avril Brandon (2023) E.A.O. Freer Abingdon: Routledge. 2021. 131pp. £44.99 (hbk); 146pp. £16.99 (pbk) ISBN: 9780067862619; 9781032063027. [Book Review]


Year Publication
2021 Brandon, Avril Margaret & Kennefick, Louise (2021) Non-custodial sanctions and measures in the Member States of the European Union: Republic of Ireland. [Report] [Link]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
European Society of Criminology Full Member -
Psychology Society of Ireland Graduate Member -

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/01/2019 FitzPatrick Foundation Funding Award FitzPatrick Foundation
01/05/2021 Team Teaching Award Office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning
01/09/2021 MUSSI Small Grant Scheme Maynooth University Social Science Institute
01/10/2016 Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Irish Research Council


Committee Function From / To
Research Committee Member -
International Committee Member -


Start date Institution Qualification Subject
University College Dublin BA (Hons) Geography; Spanish
University College Dublin PhD Psychology
University College Dublin Higher Diploma Psychology

Teaching Interests

Dr Brandon has designed and delivers the modules, LW297: Ethnicity, Crime & Punishment (undergraduate) and  LW696: Research Methods in Criminology (postgraduate). Full details available through Course Finder.

She also co-delivers the modules, LW166 Exploring Criminology and LW165 Introduction to Criminal Justice.

External Collaborators

Name Role Country
Professor Gavin Dingwall, De Montfort University United Kingdom