Dr Lynsey Black

Law, Social Sciences Institute (MUSSI)

Lecturer / Assistant Professor

New House
(01) 474 6567


Lynsey researches in the areas of gender and punishment, the death penalty, historical and postcolonial criminology, and borders.

In 2022, she was awarded an IRC Starting Laureate for her project 'CONSPACE: Penal Nationalism and the Northern Ireland Border' (IRCLA/2022/2418_BLACK). This is a four-year project which uses archival and participant research methodologies to tease out the meanings of crime, punishment and security at the Northern Irish border over a 100-year period exploring both historical and contemporary instances of penal nationalism at the border. The work brings in the perspectives and approaches of border criminology and penal nationalism.

Previously, Lynsey engaged in research through her IRC New Foundations project, 'Living Borders: Cattle Smuggling on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Border'. This research was done in collaboration with the National Museum of Ireland.

Through summer 2019, Lynsey was a Visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt, researching the project: 'The Mandatory Death Sentence in Ireland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados: Colonial Legacies and Sovereign Symbols.'

Lynsey recently collaborated on a British Academy-funded project led by Dr Lizzie Seal (PI) (University of Sussex), Dr Bharat Malkani (Cardiff University), Dr Florence Seemungal (University of the West Indies) and Dr Roger Ball (University of the West of England). The project is titled: 'Reforming British law and policy on the global death penalty.'

In 2019, along with Prof Claire Hamilton, Lynsey was commissioned to produce a report on confidence in criminal justice systems by the Department of Justice. This report, 'An Evidence Review of Confidence in Criminal Justice Systems, was published in December 2019.

Previous collaborations include a public engagement and knowledge exchange project undertaken with Dr Lizzie Seal (University of Sussex) and Dr Florence Seemungal (University of the West Indies/University of Oxford), and with the United Nations Development Programme in Barbados. This focused on criminal justice reform and reform of the death penalty regimes in Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Lynsey has published in Punishment & SocietyLaw and History Review, and the Social History of Medicine, and is co-editor of the collection, Law and Gender in Modern Ireland, with Hart Publishing, and Histories of Punishment and Social Control in Ireland (Emerald). Her first monograph, Gender and Punishment in Ireland: Women, Murder and the Death Penalty, 1922-64, was published in 2022 with Manchester University Press.

From 2016 to 2018, Lynsey was an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin. Her postdoctoral research was a comparative, transnational project on capital punishment in Ireland and Scotland from 1864 to 1914.

Lynsey holds an LLB Law from Trinity College Dublin, and an MA in Criminology from Dublin Institute of Technology. She received her PhD from the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin in 2016. Her doctoral research focused on women and the death penalty in post-independence Ireland and was aided by the award of a research bursary from the Irish Legal History Society and an Arthur Cox Fellowship.

Lynsey has previously lectured at Dublin Institute of Technology, and has worked with the Irish Penal Reform Trust and the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice.

Research Interests

Gender and Punishment
Women Who Kill
Death Penalty
Death Penalty in the Caribbean
Historical Criminology
Postcolonial Criminal Justice and Punishment
Media and Culture


Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
CONSPACE: Crime and Punishment at the Ireland/Northern Ireland Border PI The line of the border on the island of Ireland traverses a meandering path through the countryside for 310 miles. As an international boundary, it has been in place for 100 years. In those decades, it has been a frequent point of controversy and since its inception it has existed as a contested space. The proposed project explores this contested space through a criminological lens, examining the practices and forms of crime, punishment, and criminal justice which emerged contingent on the creation of this legal frontier. The project will draw on ‘border criminology’, a significant perspective in an era of globalisation, immigration, punitivism and mass incarceration. Productive ideas within this sphere relating to questions of citizenship and space can usefully illuminate the meanings of borders in a criminological context. The present project seeks to expand and further this perspective by a consideration of ‘border criminology’ which draws on alternative facets of ‘border life’. The project consists of a number of strands of inquiry, relating to ‘everyday life’, ‘criminal justice at the border’, ‘immigration’ and ‘Brexit and sovereignty’. This scope sees the project join historical and contemporary approaches in research design, drawing on archival research, media analysis, interviews, focus groups and ethnography to explore questions of crime, punishment and criminal justice at the Ireland/Northern Ireland border across a broad range of often unrelated themes that yet remain integral to the question of the boundary between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The project is particularly timely in the context of the re-emergence of the ‘border’ as a flashpoint in Irish, British and European political and public debate. Yet the research project demonstrates the persistence of this status from creation, denying the novelty of its current position. Crucially also, the project seeks to disrupt ‘methodological nationalism’ (Wimmer and Glick Schiller, 2002) within criminology, noting that the discipline of criminology has been criticised for its rigidity of focus on the nation-state and demonstrating the extent to which criminological inquiry must acknowledge the permeability of national boundaries. 01/09/2022 31/08/2025 378292
An Oral History of Securing the Northern Irish Border PI 01/02/2022 28/02/2023 1738
NF/2019/15821246-Living Borders: Cattlhttps://ris.maynoothuniversity.ie/live/!W_VA_GRANTS.EDIT?OBJECT_ID=2401845e Smuggling on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Border PI An historical project exploring the incidence of 'everyday criminality' on the Ireland/Northern Ireland border. Taking the post-WWII period, the project will use oral history interviews, archival, documentary and media research to explore the practice and meanings of smuggling as a function of a border. The project will examine the incidence of smuggling within the agricultural and rural context specifically. 01/05/2020 31/12/2021 9222
Reforming British Law and Policy on the Global Death Penalty PI Despite the UK’s stated opposition to the death penalty worldwide in terms of law and policy, there are significant ways in which it is arguably complicit with the death penalty in some retentionist countries. This highlights a substantial international challenge: in order to uphold international human rights, UK law and policy on the global death penalty must be reformed. This project draws on law, history and criminology to examine how the UK exported the death penalty to other countries, such as Ireland, in the colonial era and how it fails to enact full opposition in the present. It also examines historical and contemporary UK-based campaigns for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide. The project aims to identify how law and policy should be reformed to end complicity with the death penalty and the most effective campaigning strategies for global abolition. 01/02/2019 01/07/2020
'The Mandatory Death Sentence in Ireland, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados: Colonial Legacies and Sovereign Symbols.' PI Visiting Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt 01/07/2019 31/08/2019


Year Publication
2022 Lynsey Black (2022) Gender and Punishment in Ireland: Women, Murder and the Death Penalty, 1922-64. Manchester: Manchester University Press. [Link]

Edited Book

Year Publication
2022 Lynsey Black, Louise Brangan, and Deirdre Healy (Ed.). (2022) Histories of Punishment and Social Control in Ireland: Perspectives from a Periphery. Bingley: Emerald Publishing, [Link]
2019 Lynsey Black and Peter Dunne (Ed.). (2019) Law and Gender in Modern Ireland: Critique and Reform. Oxford: Hart, [Link]

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2023 Lynsey Black, Lizzie Seal, Florence Seemungal, Bharat Malkani and Roger Ball (2023) 'The Death Penalty in Barbados: Reforming a Colonial Legacy'. International Journal For Crime, Justice And Social Democracy, online first . [Link] [DOI]
2023 Lynsey Black and Sinéad Ring (2023) 'Historical Gendered Institutional Violence: A Research Agenda for Criminologists'. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 39 (1):17-37. [Link] [DOI]
2021 Hamilton C.; Black L. (2021) '‘Strikingly and stubbornly high’: Investigating the paradox of public confidence in the Irish police'. European Journal of Criminology, . [DOI]
2021 Lynsey Black, Lizzie Seal, Florence Seemungal, Bharat Malkani and Roger Ball (2021) 'Editors' Introduction - Legacies of Empire Special Issue'. Punishment and Society, 23 (5):609-612. [Link] [DOI]
2020 Black, L; Seal, L; Seemungal, F (2020) 'Public Opinion on Crime, Punishment and the Death Penalty in Barbados'. Punishment and Society, 22 (3):302-320. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Lynsey Black (2020) 'The Pathologisation of Women Who Kill: Three Cases from Ireland'. Social History of Medicine, 33 (2):417-437. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Lynsey Black (2018) '‘On the other hand, the accused is a woman’: Women and the Death Penalty in Post-Independence Ireland'. Law and History Review, 36 (1):139-172. [DOI] [Full-Text]

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2023 Lynsey Black (2023) ''Women of Evil Life': Donnybrook Magdalene and the Criminal Justice System' In: A Dublin Magdalene Laundry: Donnybrook and Church-State Power in Ireland. Oxford : Bloomsbury. [Link]
2022 Lynsey Black (2022) 'Capital Punishment and Postcolonialism in Ireland' In: Histories of Punishment and Social Control in Ireland: Perspectives from a Periphery. Bingley : Emerald Publishing. [Link]
2022 Lynsey Black (2022) 'Women, Religion and Criminal Justice in Ireland' In: The Routledge Handbook on Women’s Experiences of Criminal Justice. Abingdon : Routledge. [Link]
2020 Rian Sutton and Lynsey Black (2020) 'Detecting the Murderess: Newspaper Representations of Women Convicted of Murder in New York, London, and Ireland, 1880-1914’' In: Constructing Forensic Objectivity from 1850. London : Palgrave. [Link]
2016 Lynsey Black (2016) 'Media, Public Attitudes and Crime' In: The Routledge Handbook of Irish Criminology. Abingdon : Routledge. [Link]

Other Journal

Year Publication
2020 Lynsey Black, Florence Seemungal, and Lizzie Seal (2020) 'British Legacy and the Global Death Penalty' Amicus, 40 :11-14.
2019 Lynsey Black (2019) 'Justice, 2018' Administration: Journal of the Institute of Public Administration of Ireland, 67 (1) . [DOI]
2018 Lynsey Black (2018) 'Murder, Capital Punishment, and the Irish in Scotland, 1864 to 1914' The Irish Jurist, 60 :154-166.
2018 Lynsey Black (2018) 'Justice, 2017' Administration: Journal of the Institute of Public Administration in Ireland, 66 (1) :31-46. [DOI]
2017 Lynsey Black (2017) 'Justice, 2016' Administration: Journal of the Institute of Public Administration of Ireland, 64 (1) . [DOI]
2016 Lynsey Black (2016) 'Justice, 2015' Administration: Journal of the Institute of Public Administration in Ireland, 63 (4) :49-60. [DOI]
2015 Lynsey Black (2015) 'The Representation of Offending Women in the Irish Press: A Content Analysis' Irish Probation Journal, 12 . [Link]

Published Report

Year Publication
2019 Claire Hamilton and Lynsey Black (2019) An Evidence Review of Confidence in Criminal Justice Systems. Department of Justice and Equality, . [Link]


Year Publication
2023 Lynsey Black (2023) The changing role of religious personnel in Irish women. [Blog] [Link]
2019 Lynsey Black (2019) Abortion and Symphysiotomy in Ireland. [Blog] [Link]
2017 Lynsey Black (2017) Male Jealousy & Questions of Sexual Honor: A Look at Historical Cases of Domestic Murder in Ireland. [Blog] [Link]
2016 Lynsey Black (2016) The “worst of the worst?” Dangerous Women in Post-Independence Ireland. [Blog] [Link]
2014 Lynsey Black (2014) Mamie Cadden and the Unlearned Lesson. [Blog]

Book Review

Year Publication
2023 Lynsey Black (2023) Review of Penal Servitude: Convicts and Long-term Imprisonment, 1853-1948 by Helen Johnston, Barry Godfrey and David J Cox. [Book Review] [Link]
2020 Lynsey Black (2020) Review of The Rise and Fall of the Rehabilitative Ideal, 1895–1970 by Victor Bailey. [Book Review] [Link] [DOI]
2018 Lynsey Black (2018) Review of “Irish Women and the Vote: Becoming Citizens” by Louise Ryan and Margaret Ward. [Book Review] [DOI]

Magazine Article

Year Publication
2021 Lynsey Black (2021) Imperial Allegiances. [Magazine Article] [Link]


Year Publication
2018 Lynsey Black (2018) Doing Historical Criminology: A Case from Ireland. [Newsletter] [Link]

Electronic Book

Year Publication
2016 Florence Seemungal, Lizzie Seal, Lynsey Black (2016) Death Penalty and its Impact on the Professionals Involved in the Execution Process. New York: [Electronic Book] [Link]
2016 Florence Seemungal, Lizzie Seal, Lynsey Black (2016) Impact of the Imposition of the Death Penalty on Families of the Convicted in the Caribbean. New York: [Electronic Book] [Link]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Irish Legal History Society Council -
Northern Ireland Regional Group - British Society of Criminology Steering Group -
Women, Crime and Criminal Justice - British Society of Criminology Steering Group -

Outreach Activities

Organisation Type Description
BBC Radio Ulster Civic Society BBC Radio Ulster - ‘Crumlin Road Gaol - Escaping Dead or Alive’ - Contributor (2020) [Link]
Northern Voices TV Civic Society Northern Voices TV - 'History Now' - Contributor (2019) [Link]
Newstalk Radio Civic Society Newstalk - 'Mary and the Joy' - Contributor (2018) [Link]

Teaching Interests

LW165 Introduction to Criminal Justice
LW166 Exploring Criminology
LW270 Sentencing and Non-Custodial Alternatives
LW272 Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice