19 June 2020

Does the coronavirus, and the extraordinary measures currently being taken by governments around the world, offer an opportunity for a progressive rethink of many of our assumptions about criminal justice?

Or are we on the cusp of an authoritarian turn: a more aggressive policing of our public spaces; a more punitive approach to those deemed disruptive or out of place; longer prison sentences in ever more austere and oppressive prison conditions?

18 June 2020

Despite abundant reporting on the unjust and damaging nature of short sentences (see here, here and

16 June 2020

The economic impact of the current pandemic measures is likely to increase the risk of violence in domestic settings; the financial crash of 2008 was followed by a rise in incidents.

15 June 2020

What’s more, newly published research shows the burden of this violence falls disproportionately on the most disadvantaged among us, driven by the highly disproportionate rates of alcohol-related domestic and acquaintance violence that these groups experience.

12 June 2020

So wrote Gus John on the Centre's website around this time last year, as he reflected, twenty years on from the MacPherson inquiry into institutional racism in the police, on the lack of progress over the past two decades.

10 June 2020

Time was of the essence. Almost a quarter of Scottish prison staff were absent from work. Men in Barlinnie described life inside in lockdown, with their families and the virus on their minds:

8 June 2020

That is, how to manage in the first few weeks in the community on a meagre allowance of £46, known as the prison discharge grant. This perennial issue of how to survive on such an allowance, turned into one particularly memorable day, after I was contacted by the late and highly esteemed BBC Newsnight journalist, Liz MacKean.

5 June 2020

In some respects they do.

Early on in the crisis, many feared that coronavirus would sweep through the prison system, putting hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners at risk of death and serious illness. I was among them.

To date, an estimated 23 prisoners and 10 prison staff have lost their lives to coronavirus. It could have been a lot worse.

4 June 2020

In July 2018 we completed work to establish the use of three antisocial behaviour (ASB) tools to sanction young adults in England and Wales. This project was the first to consider young adults and ASB tools since their overhaul in 2014, which created new mechanisms for the potentially more extensive use of ASB enforcement by local authorities and the police.

29 May 2020

According to the same report, 16 prisoners have taken their own lives since the beginning of lockdown in late March.

Close to two prisoners kill themselves each week in England and Wales in 'normal' times, if, that is, imprisonment can be considered a normal thing to impose on a fellow human being. But we live, of course, in abnormal times, and this is as true of our prisons as anywhere else.

22 May 2020

This is the grim reality behind the apparent success, at least in the short-term, in preventing a devastating spread of coronavirus across the prison system.

21 May 2020

In England and Wales, as in many other countries, it has been roundly acknowledged that the number of people held in our overcrowded prison estate needs to be reduced to slow the spread of COVID-19.