Until 2005 Dirk was Professor of Criminology at the University of Cape Town, and was also Dean of the Law Faculty from 1990 to 1995. In 2012 he was Global Visiting Professor at the New York University School of Law. His publications include Principles of European Prison Law and Policy: Penology and Human Rights (OUP 2009) and Taking Life Imprisonment Seriously in National and International Law (Kluwer 2002). Recently Dirk has been leading a major research study on the use of life sentences around the world. The study is the first of its kind to consider the application of the life sentence systematically in comparative context.