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Personal profile

Research Biography

Simone has extensive practitioner and research experience in both the criminal justice and youth justice systems. Before joining Flinders University, Simone was the Principal Advocate for all detained children and young people in South Australia with the Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People. She has also worked as a criminal defence solicitor with the Legal Services Commission, in private practice, as a supervisor of the UniSA Legal Advice Clinic, and as an Associate of the District Court of South Australia.

Simone's key interests include homicide, youth offending (including the relationship to broader environmental factors such as the child protection system), sentencing, and the impact of care/correctional settings. She has undertaken consultancies for local and state governments, including the Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government's Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings (Ashley Youth Detention Centre). Her research and industry work has impacted upon juvenile detention policies and practices (in areas such as human rights compliance, restrictive disciplinary and intrustive practices and food-related practices) and offered international perspectives on sentencing policies that often ignore juvenile immaturity and impede rehabilitation.

Drawing on interviews with the population of juveniles under sanction of life imprisonment in the State of South Australia (2015–2019), Simone has conducted Australia's first in-depth study on the complex lives of Juvenile Homicide Offenders’ (JHO) from childhood, offending history, crime commission, incarceration, and release on parole exploring the dynamics of a young person’s involvement in murder. Her award winning research explores the effects of long-term incarceration on the juveniles’ development and seeks to explain the factors that lead some JHOs to succeed while others fail on parole. Simone also explores the extent to which prison facilitates and/or inhibits the mental, emotional, and social development of juvenile ‘lifers’ and challenges audiences to examine the life circumstances of the juveniles at the time of crime commission and the chance nature of some of these murders in terms of justice. The insights provided by her research are necessary step in rethinking whether a young person provided with opportunities for growth can heal and contribute to society. Simone's book has been adapted into an award-winning documentary film for SBS television featuring Simone and one of her juvenile lifer participants, Howard Rigney. A second film is now in pre-production.  

Together with Professor Mark Halsey, Simone conducted Australia's Australia's longest and most in-depth study of repeat incarceation and desistance from crime among a group of young men aged 15 to 29 years (2009- 2015). The book based on that research (Young Offenders: Crime, Prison and Struggles for Desistance) won the Australian and New Zealand Society for Criminology Christine M Alder Book Prize for the most outstanding contribution to criminology (2018). 

Her current research (2022-) funded by the Law Foundation of South Australia, examines public perceptions of different homicide offenders and their attitudes towards mandatory sentencing.

Research Interests

Competitive Grants and Selected Consultancies

Intract Indigenous Contractors Australia. ‘Cell mates to work mates: Employment in the lives of formerly incarcerated Indigenous Australians’ (2024).

Law Foundation of South Australia. ‘Quantifying and expanding alternatives to arrest for personal use and possession of illicit drugs in Australia’. (2024).

Law Foundation of South Australia. ‘Attitudes towards current and alternate cannabis legal regimes in South Australia’. (2024-2025).

Tasmanian Government. ‘Commission of Inquiry into the Tasmanian Government’s Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings’ (2023).

The Law Foundation of South Australia. ‘Extended Joint Criminal Enterprise: Public Perceptions of Appropriate Sentences for Murder’. (2022-2023).

Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People. Great Responsibility: Report on the 2019 Pilot Inspection of the Adelaide Youth Training Centre (Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre). 


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Criminology

Supervisory Interests

  • Homicide
  • Life sentences
  • Youth violence, evaluation, intervention
  • Criminal law
  • Sentencing
  • Desistance from crime
  • Detention and imprisonment


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