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Event summary: 'Chaos and Crisis: Can Prison Be Better Than This?’

A workshop titled ‘Chaos and Crisis: Can Prison Be Better Than This?’ took place on Wednesday 17th of January 2018 at the University of Warwick. This event was co-organised by the Howard League for Penal Reform, Safe Ground, and the Department of Sociology and the Criminal Justice Centre at Warwick. It was supported by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account fund that seeks to raise public engagement on current issues inside English and Welsh prisons. The workshop was designed to be an interactive, day-long encounter that brought together a range of prison practitioners and employees, former prisoners, criminal justice charities and NGOs, media, researchers, campaigners and others interested in issues of criminal justice. An impressive range of panelists, all having substantial experience and knowledge of prisons attended.

This workshop offered a multi-expert exchange that discussed current problems inside prisons and collectively debated viable ways forward. The event was tstructured around three main panels, each addressing a set of questions around 1) sentencing and public attitudes to prisoners and prisons, 2) issues of diversity in custody, and finally, 3) current issues around staffing and funding, increases in harm, violence and drugs misuse.

You can see and download the programme of the event, with the full list of speakers, here.


Below, you can see brief extracts from some of the discussions.

Panel One: Sentencing, Political Rhetoric and Public Perceptions of the Prison
Panel Two: Diversities, Identities and Attitudes towards Prisoners
Panel Three: Chaos & Crisis: Can Prison be better than this?
Concluding Thoughts and Artistic Performances


If you'd like to find out more about this event, please contact Dr Anastasia Chamberlen:


Telephone: +44(0)24 765 23037

Room: D0.19

Twitter: @a_chamberlen