Marte Rua's PhD project concerns the use of solitary confinement in Norwegian prisons. Starting from the experiences of staff at different levels, prisoners and other involved actors, Rua explores institutional practices giving various forms of solitary confinement, so that we can better understand how they occur.
Rua combines data from field work in Norwegian segregation units, interviews and a wide range of case file documents in an institutional ethnography.
Marte Rua holds a Masters degree in Sociology from the University of Oslo. The University published Rua's monograph 'What does prison doctors do? An institutional ethnography on solitary confinement and health', in 2012. Rua's work was a pioneering study that addressed health work in prison. Particularly, the actual conflicts between, on the one hand, health considerations and, on the other, security/punishment considerations in Norwegian prisons.
Rua has worked as; a researcher at the interdisciplinary project Prison-based drug treatment in the Nordic countries. Control and rehabilitation in welfare state institutions at the Department, at a project on the rehabilitation of young persons with physical disabilities at the NOVA - Norwegian Social Research, the Department of Sociology and Human Geography (University of Oslo) and the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research. Rua is lecturing about qualitative methods, as well as leading seminar groups and supervising students of Criminology and Sociology (BA- and MA-level), and Law students, at the University of Oslo.
Rua is one of the founders of the Nordic research network Institutional Ethnography in the Nordic countries and The Scandinavian Solitary Confinement Network, where she also is a member of the steering group. Rua has written for among others Norwegian and international research news agencies, as well as a number of academic journals such as Sosiolognytt (The Journal of the Norwegian Sociological Association), and was in the editorial board of Materialisten - one of two journals in Scandinavia dedicated to criminological research.
Rua is engaged in research dissemination and public debate. She writes and comment on penal policies in general and solitary confinement and prisoners' rights in particular. Rua organizes national and international conferences, seminars and public meetings, and gives lectures to staff and volunteers in public and private institutions including the Correctional Services, as well as civil society. Rua has also written amicus briefs for the Norwegian Supreme Court.