Professor Lesley McAra is Assistant Principal for Community Relations and holds the Chair of Penology in the Law School at the University of Edinburgh. Lesley’s research interests are in the sociology of punishment, law and deviance. She is an international expert on youth crime and juvenile justice. Lesley is the Co-Director (with David J. Smith and Susan McVie) of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a 20-year longitudinal programme of research on pathways into and out of offending for a cohort of 4,300 young people. She also runs the Old Town Story Telling Project, which explores the role of performance arts in promoting community safety and well-being. Lesley is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Youth Justice and an Editor of the Oxford Handbook of Criminology (with Alison Liebling and Shadd Maruna). She is also Associate Director (Community) of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.
In recognition of the impact of her research, Lesley received (with Susan McVie) the Howard League Research Medal in 2013 and the University of Edinburgh Chancellor’s medal for research impact in 2016. She was also awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Honours List in 2018 for Services to Criminology