I am an action researcher and senior lecturer in the Education department, teaching broadly on child health, child therapeutics, and services for children and families.
I began my career as a grass roots community worker in various socially deprived areas across Liverpool. I ran children and family centres, community arts projects and successfully raised £500,000 of ERDF monies to rebuild a dilapidated community building, a project I oversaw from planning to completion.
Following a brief period living in Australia where I worked in pre-schools and in family homes supporting chronically ill children, I returned to the UK where, upon completion of an MSc in Applied Psychology, I began work as a researcher in female prisons.
Here I conducted numerous interviews with imprisoned women to gain their perspectives on the barriers to resettlement. My interest in the particular vulnerabilities of female offenders quickly grew. I carried out an in-depth study entitled “Getting off the Merry-go-Round” findings of which I disseminated across Europe including Key Note Speaking for the European Conference Female Offenders in Holland in 2006.
My interest in the criminal justice system quickly grew from here. I conducted a further qualitative enquiry looking specifically at the barriers to post-release ETE (education, training, employment), with the overall objective of exploring how resettlement strategies can be improved. My research expanded to the male and juvenile estates where I interviewed cohorts of ‘doubly disadvantaged’ prisoners including sex offenders, older prisoners (60yrs +) and younger prisoners (ages 16-24yrs). I also developed and taught training programmes for both prisoners and prison officers.
Having become acutely aware of the larger number of imprisoned parents and the distinct lack of support for their children and families, I turned my attention to providing community-based support for children who have a parent in prison. I then developed a model of support and ran a service for approximately ten years for the charitable organisation PSS, and my support groups were featured in the recent BBC 1 documentary “Prison, My Parents and Me” (2016).
In addition to my role as lecturer, I continue to work with specialised prisoner’s children’s organisations and research projects, nationally and internationally. In 2017, I won the LJMU Spotlight Research Award to build a prototype for the very first self-help app for prisoner’s children, called 'MyTime'. This project is now underway!
Brookes L. 2018. Why we need to listen to children of prisoners European Journal of Education, 53 :271-274 >DOI
Brookes LM, Dawson A, Carter B, Larman G, Jackson D. 2013. Stigma, health and incarceration: Turning the tide for children with a parent in prison Journal of Child Health Care,