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Graham Towl leaning against a fence

Professor Graham Towl has been appointed as the new chair of the Scottish Advisory Panel on Offender Rehabilitation (SAPOR) which is a key role to help reduce crime in Scotland.

The panel, which is supported by the Scottish Government, ensures that interventions used to reduce crime are evidence-informed. It sets the standards for work aimed at rehabilitating people who have offended. 

Working with prisoners 

Graham has extensive experience in this area as the former Chief Psychologist at the Ministry of Justice. In this role, he set up a national infrastructure for more effective delivery of psychological services across prisons and probation services in England and Wales. He also worked directly with prisoners as a practitioner psychologist in prisons for many years. 

In his current role at Durham, his research has recently been focused on what can be done to reduce sexual violence at universities which builds on his work in prisons. 

He will take on the eight-year post as chair of the panel alongside his job as an academic in our Department of Psychology. 


SAPOR’s remit is to ensure that interventions in prisons and related community services are evidence informed. For example, this may involve looking at interventions to address intimate partner violence or drug misuse to see if they are based on evidence and effective. 

This will make sure that money is put into those programmes that are most likely to work. 

Find out more 

Our Department of Psychology prides itself on being a collegiate and welcoming department, committed to success for all who work here. Through dedicated teaching sessions, an optional placement module, external speakers and even an employability retreat – we actively prepare students for working life.  

We are proud to be ranked in the Top 10 Psychology departments in the UK by The Complete University Guide 2022 and in the World Top 100 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.    

Durham University is a top 100 world university. In the QS World University Rankings 2024, we were ranked 78th globally.