After Strangeways: Webinar 1

Online event via Zoom
22 February 2021 - 9:30am to 11:30am

Prisons before the Strangeways protest

This is the first of five webinars, being held to mark the 1990 Strangeways prisons protest and the official report on the protest, published in February 1991.

This webinar will discuss the state of prisons in the UK in the years leading up to the protest.

About the webinar series

The 25-day protest in April 1990 at Strangeways prison in Manchester was the longest prison protest in British history. A report into the protests by Lord Justice Woolf, published the following year in February 1991, laid bare some of the dysfunctions of the prison system that gave rise to the protests. Welcomed by some, others considered it a missed opportunity.

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.

In five webinars over five days, we will:

  • Discuss the background to the Strangeways protest
  • Recount what happened in those 25 days in April 1990 and the immediate consequences
  • Review the failed attempts to reform the prison system, and address systemic injustices in prisons, since the Strangeways protest
  • Take a long view on 200 hundred years of failure in prisons and consider a future in which prisons are no longer a mainstay of our response to crime

About this webinar

This first webinar in the series will consider the pre-history of the Strangeways protest, and will include rarely seen footage of Strangeways prison in the 1980s.

Speakers to include

  • Rex Bloomstein, film maker and creator of the iconic, Bafta-award-winning 'Strangeway's documentary series and of the follow-up 'Strangeways Revisited' documentary
  • Eric Allison, prisons correspondent for The Guardian, co-author with Nicki Jameson of Strangeways 1990: A Serious Disturbance, and former prisoner, who spent over four years in Strangeways in the late 1960s/early 1970s
  • Elaine Player, Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice at King's College London and author of Prisons After Woolf: Reform through Riot

About the other webinars in this series

  • Tuesday, 23 February: The Strangeways protest and aftermath
  • Wednesday, 24 February: Thirty years of failure in prison reform since Strangeways
  • Thursday, 25 February: Thirty years of failure in tackling prison injustices since Strangeways
  • Friday, 26 February: Beyond prison reform towards a future without prisons