Salvete - Professor Graham Towl

Bringing forensic, business and martial arts skills to the management of Cuth’s

Professor Graham Towl, who has built a considerable reputation in criminal psychology and forensic mental health and is Chief Psychologist at the Ministry of Justice, is the new Principal of St. Cuthbert’s Society. He succeeded Professor Roy Boyne in December 2008.

Born in Boosbeck, near Saltburn, Graham Towl spent his early childhood in Thornaby before the family moved to South Wales where he attended St Martins Comprehensive School, Caerphilly. He trained as a psychiatric nurse and took evening classes at Epsom and Ewell Adult Education Centre. As a mature student, he attended Durham University (University College 1985-88) to read psychology and then worked for the Prison Service while studying for his MSc in criminological psychology at Birkbeck College, London.

Subsequently, he maintained links with the higher education sector through various visiting posts whilst working as a forensic psychologist. In 2000, he gained a MBA after two years’ part- time study at the University of Birmingham. That year, he was appointed Head of Psychology for Prisons and Probation in England and Wales and became a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Birmingham and Portsmouth. As Chief Psychologist at the Ministry of Justice, Prof. Towl provides professional leadership in the applications of psychology across the National Offender Management Service (prisons and probation).

He has published widely in the forensic mental health field and has particular interests in prisoner suicide, groupwork, risk assessment and professional ethics. He was co-founder and co-editor of The British Journal of Forensic Practice but has relinquished his role. He now edits Evidence Based Mental Health and has received the British Psychological Society’s award for distinguished contribution to professional psychology. He is an external examiner in criminology at the University of Cambridge. He was awarded a DSc by Durham University in 2008 which consisted of a thematic illustrative collection of his published research work in the forensic field and was assessed by an international expert panel.

He adds: “I am happily married with interests in hill walking and martial arts. I have studied both Japanese and Chinese martial art styles and hold a 3rd dan black belt in Tang Sou Dao.”