Tom’s research interests lie in communicative aspects of punishment and criminal law. He is currently writing up his ESRC-funded Ph.D research entitled 'Punishment and communication: perceptions of penal messages in sentencing’. This empirical project has involved observations of sentencing and interviews with Crown Court judges. Tom is exploring how sentencing can be used as a 'teachable moment', and what that might mean for ‘censure’ theories of punishment, with a view to enhancing the legitimacy and effectiveness of sentencing. The project is supervised by Professor Nicola Padfield and Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe.
Tom has previously carried out research regarding Restorative Justice for Restorative Solutions CIC, and interned for a summer with the Texas Defender Service (a non-profit organisation working to combat systemic flaws in the Texas death penalty system).
Padfield, N and Hawker, T. ‘Editorial: Sentencing via video link’  Crim. L.R. 8: 585
Hawker, T. (2016). Book review of Punishment by Brooks, T. Abingdon: Routledge (2012). Howard Journal of Crime and Justice 55(3): 365-7.