About me

I am a sociologist and professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Kiel.

After I received my diploma in 1983 I was involved in various research and practice projects focusing on media observations, on qualification and employment issues concerning the labour market and on the prison system. I received my Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Hamburg. My dissertation was on coping processes of victims facing consequences of burglary and assault (published in 1993 in German).

Since 2004 I have been professor for social work and sociology at the Faculty of Social Work and Health of Kiel University of Applied Sciences.

My teaching areas include mediation, forms of intervention addressing delinquent behaviour, assistance for offenders (including probation work), victim assistance and victimology as well as social change and theory of society and qualitative research methodology.

My main interests focus on restorative justice (working with victims and perpetrators at the same time), methods of social work (mediation, group work with prisoners, community work, qualitative research methods), prisons and their alternatives (abolitionism).

Before 2004 I was a research fellow at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald mainly occupied with international comparative research in prison systems in Northern Europe and with international comparative research in experiencing violence of pupils as victims, offenders and witnesses. Prior to that time I was an assistant professor at the Institute of Criminological Social Research at the University of Hamburg.

I am a member of the Schleswig-Holstein Restorative Justice Steering group founded by the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Justice in 2010.

In 2006 I initiated the Elmshorn community conferencing project which follows the New Zealand model of Family group conferences and the Belgium model of Herstelrechtlijk Groepsoverleg. It is the first program of this kind in Germany. After a long piloting phase it became a regular offer for all cases involving offenders treated under juvenile criminal law in 2013 and is now called extended victim-offender-mediation (eTOA).

Already in 1997 I had developed a program on raising victim awareness for prisoners which was carried out first by myself and after 1999 by others in a socio-therapeutic prison in Hamburg, Germany until 2006. In the context of an EU-funded action research project we have been modifying the initial program since 2012 (see www.rjustice.eu).

Since 2001 I am regularly part of the teaching staff of the Postgraduate Course on Victimology, Victim Assistance and the Criminal Justice System at the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

I spent the winter semester 2006/07 studying restorative conferences in New Zealand and Australia (relationship between mediation and the criminal justice system, empirical evidence for successes and shortcomings etc.).