Universiteit Leiden

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Hilde Wermink

Associate professor

Dr. H.T. Wermink
+31 71 527 7417

Hilde Wermink is Associate Professor of Criminology at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden University.

More information about Hilde Wermink


She graduated with bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a master's degree in Sociology and Social Research from Utrecht University. At the start of 2008 she was a quantitative researcher at Significant, and thereafter she worked for one year as a junior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR). In 2009 she became a PhD student at the Department of Criminology at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden University under the supervision of Professor P. Nieuwbeerta, Professor J.W. de Keijser and Professor P.M. Schuyt. She defended her doctoral thesis On the determinants and consequences of sentencing on 5 June 2013.

She visited the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department at Maryland University twice during her PhD studies. In 2016, she was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Sociology Department for a period of six months.


In her research, Hilde studies punishment decisions in the sentencing process both at the final and pre-trial sentencing stage. Part of her research focuses on how various actors in the sentencing process use their discretionary freedom by investigating the influence of offender characteristics (e.g. ethnicity), criminal history and case characteristics on sentencing decisions. In doing so she aims to provide insights into the (in)equality and legitimacy of sentencing. For a broader understanding of legitimacy she also studies whether the broad discretionary powers are used effectively by focusing on the (un)intended consequences of punishment decisions. Do more severe sanctions indeed reduce recidivism? And are there effective alternatives for imprisonment? By using various quantitative methods she systematically studies these interconnected facets of the criminal justice system, and her research in this field has been published nationally and internationally. She received funding for her research from the Council of the Judiciary, the Research and Documentation Centre and Leiden University Fund, and in 2017 she was awarded a VENI grant for her work on understanding effects of imprisonment on the further life-course.

Her research is embedded in the research programme of Leiden University Criminal Justice: Legitimacy, Accountability, and Effectivity. She is also working on a large-scale research project on the intended and unintended consequences of imprisonment: the Prison Project, and currently collaborates with national and international scholars on various research projects (nationality and sentencing, the use of pre-trial detention among juveniles, and punishment effectiveness).


Hilde coordinates courses at the undergraduate level such as Academic Skills for Criminologists and Environmental Criminology, and she supervises the theses of bachelor’s and master’s students. She is Coordinator of the bachelor’s programme Criminology.

Associate professor

  • Faculteit Rechtsgeleerdheid
  • Instituut voor Strafrecht & Criminologie
  • Criminologie

Work address

Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden
Room number B 3.30



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