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Michael Rice


Michael Rice grew up on a council estate in Norfolk. He was the first member of his family to pursue higher (or indeed secondary) education, and the first pupil from his school to go to Oxford University. After his undergraduate degree, which he began as a lawyer and ended as a mediaeval linguist, he worked at the Survey Research Centre in the London School of Economics. Later, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, he directed a planning law reform campaign and secured legislation to close a loophole that was being exploited by property speculators. For a time, he was Will Hutton's gardener. He then worked as a researcher on health and education at Westminster. While in a Home Office-sponsored post as Parliamentary liaison officer for the haemoglobinopathy charities he was one of the founders of the Genetic Interest Group. Before his arrival in Cambridge as a graduate student he was active in local politics in north London, where he took particular interest in housing and the built environment. For his doctoral research into prisoners’ literacy he spent over two hundred days—but no nights—behind bars. On completion of his doctorate he worked for Nacro’s Crime and Social Policy section. At present, as both a social and an anti-social scientist, he teaches courses on crime and deviance, sentencing policy, elementary statistical analysis and survey research methods to graduate and undergraduate students in the Faculties of Politics, Psychology, Sociology and International Studies , Law, and Social Anthropology

Brief CV


PhD in Criminology, Darwin College, Cambridge, 1999
‘Literacy and Behaviour: the Prison Reading Survey’

MA, Lincoln College, Oxford, 1993

Selected Writing


Rice, M. (work in progress). An Elephant on the Moon: the unnatural history of literacy and offending.

Rice, M. (work in progress). Education and Crime: the moralists and the statisticians 1825-1850.

Rice, M., & Brooks, G. (2004). Developmental Dyslexia in Adults: a research review. London: National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy.


Rice, M. (2002). Barclays Sitesavers Environmental Regeneration Programme: a secondary analysis. London: Nacro. [Unpublished]

Rice, M. (2002). Addressing Basic Skills Deficits in Offenders: an action research report for the Probation Service in Lancashire. London: Nacro. [Unpublished]

Rice, M. (2001). Ex-offender Trainees in the Transco Green Futures Programme: an evaluation. London: Nacro. [Unpublished]

Rice, M. (2001). Crime, Disorder, and Quality of Life in Inner-City Social Housing: an evaluation of community safety measures in the London Borough of Camden. London: Nacro. [Unpublished]

Rice, M., Howes, M., & Connell, P. (1998). The Prison Reading Survey:  A Report to HM Prison Service Planning Group. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology. [Unpublished]

Lexicon entry

Rice, M. (2008). Dyslexia and specific learning disabilities. In D. P. Farrington, G. Towl, G. Hughes & D. Crighton (Eds.), Dictionary of Forensic Psychology. Cullompton: Willan.


Rice, M. (submitted). Basic Skills and Crime: science or propaganda?

Rice, M. (1999). Dyslexia and crime. Prison Report (49), 18-19.

Rice, M. (2000). The extent and nature of reading problems in the prison population. Prison Service Journal (129), 2-10.

Selected Conference Papers and Seminars

Rice, M. (2006). What factors predict unemployment prior to arrest in a representative sample of adult male prisoners? Findings from the Prison Reading Survey. (A paper given to the Cambridge Social Stratification Research Seminar, Clare College, Cambridge, September 2006).

From Aristotle to the ASBO: a study of crime and incivility in the inner city.(Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group, May 2005).

Dyslexia and Crime, or An Elephant in the Moon (British Dyslexia Association International Conference, York, April 2001).

The Causes of Crime: Moralists and Statisticians 1825-1850 (British Society of Criminology, Leicester, July 2000).

Findings from the Prison Reading Survey (British Psychological Society Division of Criminological and Legal Psychology Conference, Cambridge, 1999).

Some Findings from the Prison Reading Survey (Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London, July 1999).

(Il)literacy and (Mis)behaviour (MRC Cognitive Development Unit, London, March 1997).

  • Position: Affiliated Lecturer
  • E-mail:
  • Tel: 01223 334520
  • Address: Department of Sociology, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RQ
  • Research Interests: Crime and punishment, language and literacy, and developmental psychopathology. He teaches the new paper on Criminology, Sentencing and the Penal System to undergraduates taking the PPS and the Law Triposes. He also teaches elementary statistical analysis and survey research methods to graduate and undergraduate students in the Faculties of Politics, Psychology, Sociology and International Studies, Law, and Social Anthropology