Universiteit Leiden

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Esther van Ginneken

Associate professor

Dr. E.F.J.C. van Ginneken
+31 71 527 2827

Esther van Ginneken is Associate Professor at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden University.

More information about Esther van Ginneken

Esther van Ginneken is Associate Professor at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden University. Before joining the Faculty at Leiden University, Esther worked at Liverpool Hope University. She received her PhD (2014) from the University of Cambridge for her thesis entitled “The pains and gains of imprisonment”, which was awarded with the Salje Medal and Nigel Walker Prize.

Esther’s main research focus is imprisonment, including prison conditions, violence in prisons, and wellbeing of incarcerated individuals.


Esther’s research interests include prison climate (i.e., the quality of prison life), and how this is related to wellbeing, misconduct and recidivism. She has also carried out research on positive experiences of imprisonment and posttraumatic growth of incarcerated individuals. Another interest is cell sharing and its consequences. Esther supervises research on normalization in prison, by PhD student Jill van de Rijt.

In 2022, Esther received a five-year vidi grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) for a research project on violence in prisons, to investigate why violent incidents occur in prisons and how staff respond. As part of this project, Dante Hoek carries out her PhD research on the circumstances that contribute to prison violence, using virtual reality as an instrument.

Lastly, Esther is involved as senior researcher with the Life in Custody study, which the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology carries out for the Dutch Custodial Institutions Agency (part of the Ministry of Justice and Security). As part of this project, Esther supervises three PhD projects: Amanda Pasma conducts research on the preparation of prisoners for release; Jan Maarten Elbers studies the role of autonomy and cognitive abilities in relation to reward systems in prison; and Sophie Martens researches safety in prisons.


Esther teaches the course Risk Assessment (MSc Forensic Criminology), and supervises students who are writing their master’s thesis.

Associate professor

  • Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
  • Instituut voor Strafrecht & Criminologie
  • Criminologie

Work address

Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Room number B 3.24


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