The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is embarking on a new, long-term programme.
The new programme, with the working title After Prison, is grounded in a simple proposition: there is always a better way to use a particular piece of land than as a place for a prison.
Over the coming months and years, we plan to work with a wide range of partners – local, national and international – to make the case for the redevelopment of our existing prison sites for social benefit. Homes or hospitals; community gardens or community centres; business hubs or green energy power stations; there are so many ways that the land currently occupied by prisons could be used in better ways.
Speaking today, the Centre's director, Richard Garside, said:
We first became involved in making the case for the redevelopment of prison sites when we set up Community Plan for Holloway, following the closure of Holloway women's prison in north London. This initiative builds on our work around Holloway, but with a difference.
Rather than debating the future of a site of a closed prison, we are mostly talking about prisons that the government currently plans to keep open, in many cases, for years to come. If we are incapable of talking about how existing prison sites might be used in better ways, we risk merely building and rebuilding existing prisons in perpetuity.
There is always a better way to use a particular piece of land than as a place for a prison. Exploring the implications of this proposition is what this new initiative is about.