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The penal voluntary sector: a hybrid sociology

Tomczak, Philippa; Buck, Gillian


Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Gillian Buck


The penal voluntary sector (PVS) is an important, complex, under-theorised area. Its non-profit, non-statutory organisations are highly significant in the operation of punishment around the world, yet ill-understood. Burgeoning scholarship has begun to examine specific parts of the sector, particularly individualised service delivery. We offer a five paradigm framework which more fully conceptualises the PVS, including different types of service delivery and important campaigning work. Our hybrid framework applies and extends Burrell and Morgan’s (1979) influential four paradigm model of social theory, which maps the theoretical diversity underpinning varying organisational activities. Our framework i) provides ideal-types which illustrate the range, fluidity and hybridity of PVS programmes and practices, and ii) highlights the (potential) roles of brokers in (re)directing activity.


Tomczak, P., & Buck, G. (2019). The penal voluntary sector: a hybrid sociology. British Journal of Criminology, 59(4), 898-918.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 26, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 9, 2019
Publication Date Jan 9, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 12, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 10, 2021
Journal The British Journal of Criminology
Print ISSN 0007-0955
Electronic ISSN 1464-3529
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 59
Issue 4
Pages 898-918
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in The British Journal of Criminology following peer review. The version of record Philippa Tomczak, Gillian Buck; The Penal Voluntary Sector: A Hybrid Sociology, The British Journal of Criminology, , azy070, is available online at: