The 25-day protest in 1990 at Strangeways prison in Manchester was the longest prison protest in British history.
On 1 April 2020 – 30 years to the day from the start of the protest – we will be holding a major conference in central London to discuss the past, present and future of prisons.
The root causes of the protests lay in many years of unjust and abusive prison policies and practices that affected not just Strangeways, but the British prison system as a whole. The conference will consider the deep history of British prisons, using the Strangeways protests as a signal moment in a wider history of problematic and abusive institutions.
Thirty years on, the dysfunctions and problems of the prison system that gave rise to the Strangeways protest are as pressing as ever. Indeed some would argue they are worse. Many prisons across Britain appear locked in a terminal spiral of decline and decay. The conference will take stock of the present state of prisons across the UK, and what current conditions say about British society and the way it treats some of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups.
The conference will also look forward, at the potential futures of prisons. Are prisons eternal and immutable institutions, destined forever to be a feature of British society? Is it possible to think about different futures, including ones where far fewer people are imprisoned, or where prisons are no longer a mainstay of our response to crime?
Bookings for this important conference open soon. We are committed to making this conference as affordable and accessible as possible to maximise attendance from those who really want to be there.
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