Scottish Advisory Panel on Offender Rehabilitation (SAPOR): member biographies

Member biographies for the Scottish Advisory Panel on Offender Rehabilitation (SAPOR) group.

Panel membership

Panel members are drawn from both academic and practitioner backgrounds, reflecting the wide interest in offender rehabilitation in Scotland and the international landscape. 

Current panel members

Professor Graham Towl, Chair

Graham Towl is Professor of Psychology at Durham University and visiting clinical professor at Newcastle University. His current primary research area is mental health, particularly prisoner suicide.

He was an expert member of the Ministerial Independent Advisory Panel on deaths in state custody including hospitals and prisons. Uniquely he is the recipient of the British Psychological Society Awards for Distinguished Contributions to both Professional Practice and Forensic Academic Knowledge. He is included in A&C Black's Who's Who for exceptional contributions in the field of equality and diversity. In 2003, he was acknowledged in a national peer survey as the most influential forensic psychologist in the UK. He has practical experience of working in hospitals and prisons.

As a former Senior Civil Servant, he has thorough understanding of the machinery of government. His most recent post at the Ministry of Justice was as Chief Psychologist, where he enjoyed international reputation for innovations in service delivery. He devised and established a national infrastructure for more effective delivery of psychological services across prisons and probation services in England and Wales.

He has maintained his research whilst undertaking the role of pro-vice-chancellor on DU's Executive Committee. He has overseen a number of innovative change-management programmes, e.g., giving DU national presence on provision of support services for university students who have experienced sexual violence.

Rona Fraser, panel member

Rona Fraser has over 30 years of experience as a social worker and manager within the field of criminal justice social work. Her commitment to partnership working, the values of social work and public service remain as strong now as when she started working as a social worker. She was formerly the Senior Manager for Community Justice for the City of Edinburgh Council.

She has a particular interest in cross-cutting issues such as domestic abuse, women in the criminal justice system and the development of trauma informed services and leadership. She has had a key role in developing services in these areas.

She has also had extensive experience of the risk assessment and management of offenders, including establishing the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements within Edinburgh, working closely with partners across key agencies.

Dr Sarah Lewis, panel member

Dr Sarah Lewis has worked and researched in probation and prison environments since 2004. She specialises in:

  • therapeutic correctional relationships and ruptures rehabilitative work
  • growth-focused correctional practice
  • growing organisational culture
  • rehabilitative knowledge and academic research
  • lean consultancy
  • de-radicalisation
  • programme development and delivery
  • whole systems and user engagement
  • creative methodologies

Dr Lewis carried out her doctoral studies on therapeutic correctional relationships and since becoming a doctor, she has focused her efforts on quality practice within correctional contexts. She feels passionate about promoting humanistic principles in practice, especially since she researched a number of Norwegian prison environments over the past two years.

Dr Lewis is currently working for the Council of Europe, developing, training, and evaluating rehabilitative programmes in prisons in Eastern Europe. Further to this, she is working closely in English prisons, to develop and improve prison environments to achieve greater safety and wellbeing.

Michelle Gilluley, panel member

Michele Gilluley is a registered and chartered forensic psychologist. She has over 20 years’ experience of risk assessment and management of offenders in custody and secure care in Scotland.

Ms Gilluley brings to her role additional experience of acting as an expert to the Council of Europe, consulting on projects related to improving human rights in countries across Europe.

She is a senior lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University and past Chair and Vice Chair of the Division of Forensic Psychology Scotland.

Mark McSherry, panel member

Mark McSherry started his career working in residential care, alternative to custody programmes and youth justice before joining SACRO in 1997.

He studied social work and provided programmes on Domestic Abuse and support services to woman and children across the Forth Valley. He also provided programmes for those convicted of sexual offending and for young people on probation.

He held posts at Glasgow Community Safety Services providing restorative programmes with young people. He then became head of the Scottish Government’s Effective Practice Unit in 2007. He first joined the RMA in 2010 and became CE in 2019.

Professor Susan McVie OBE FRSE FAcSS, panel member

Susan McVie is Chair of Quantitative Criminology at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh. She is Co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR). At SCADR she leads a programme of research on ‘Safer Communities’.

She is also Co-Director of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime (ESYTC), one of the largest and longest running longitudinal studies of its kind internationally. She is a founding associate of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR). 

Susan’s published work includes research on: youth crime and juvenile justice; crime and justice inequalities; changing patterns of victimisation and offending; criminal careers over the life course; violence and homicide; youth gangs and knife crime; youth mental health and wellbeing; adverse childhood experiences; violence and vulnerability; inequalities in patterns of victimisation; police use of stop and search; police use of enforcement during the pandemic; and online drug markets.

She acts as an advisor to governments in Scotland, the UK and a range of international countries on policy issues relating to crime, justice and policing.  

Along with Professor Lesley McAra, Susan received the Howard League for Penal Reform Research Medal in 2013; the University of Edinburgh’s Chancellor’s Award for Impact from HRH Princess Anne in 2016; and the ESRC’s Award for Outstanding Public Policy Impact in 2019.

She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2014 and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2020.  She received an OBE for services to social science in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2016. Her work on the impact of adverse childhood experiences and poverty on childhood offending in Scotland won the 2021 European Society for Prevention Research President’s Award.

Professor Erica Bowen, panel member

Dr Erica Bowen is a Registered Practitioner Psychologist (Forensic), a Registered Coaching Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Dr Bowen obtained her PhD in 2003, providing the first psychologically-informed evaluation of a probation-delivered domestic violence perpetrator programme.

She then pursued an academic career culminating in her promotion to Full Professor in 2014, and director of the Violence and Interpersonal Aggression research group at Coventry University.

From 2016 she joined the University of Worcester as the research director within the Centre for Violence Prevention, and was further promoted to the Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange across the College of Business, Psychology and Sport in 2018.

Her focus across her academic work has been on preventing violence, achieved through securing European funding to create interventions for adolescent dating violence and gun crime, as well as national funding to create short-term group-based interventions to prevent domestic violence.

In 2011 Erica was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice of England and Wales to provide a literature review which provided the theoretical orientation for Building Better Relationships.

In 2021 Erica left full-time academia in order to set up her own coaching and consultancy business, Hope-Makers Ltd. Erica is also an associate trainer for Safer Places domestic violence support service, through which she trains independent domestic violence advisors.

Previous panel members

  • Professor Fergus McNeill – Chair
  • Professor Elizabeth Gilchrist – Chair
  • Dr Trish McCulloch – panel member
  • Dr Beth Weaver – panel member
  • Professor Shadd Maruna – panel member
  • Dr Dawn Fisher – panel member
  • Dr Ioan Durmescu – panel member
  • Monica Wilson – panel member
  • Yvonne Robson – panel member



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