Nisha Waller


Criminology (2020 cohort)

My general academic interests are in politics of crime control and issues related to race, class and gender in criminology. My PhD research will seek to understand the experiences of young black men convicted under the controversial doctrine of Joint Enterprise. Despite making up around 3% of the British population, 37% of Joint Enterprise prisoners are black. My aim is to shed light on the unique experiences of this prisoner population – most of whom protest their innocence. My project will adopt the aims of ‘black criminology’, expanding the theoretical research on crime and punishment associated with the black population by highlighting the relationship between systemic racism and Joint Enterprise. My research will analyse the linguistic features and ideologies that are adopted during trials, assessing to what extent Joint Enterprise convictions amongst young black men are conflated with racial bias and inequality. My project will have a particular focus on the use of the ‘gang’ narrative, ‘urban youth culture’ and ‘drill’ music as prosecutorial mechanisms in establishing ‘common purpose’ between defendants. This will be situated within a broader analysis of the political and legal battle against the use of Joint Enterprise and the criminalisation of young black men.    

Before starting the DPhil, I completed the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Oxford. Prior to this, I completed a BA in Sociology and Criminology at the University of Westminster whereby I received an Excellence Award for the highest achieving grades.