Conference cancellation: Prison abolition in the UK

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

We are saddened to announce that the conference, Prison Abolition in the UK, planned for 23 and 24 May, has been cancelled.

Unfortunately, one of our conference partners has, in recent weeks, been subjected to concerted pressure by those intent on disrupting the conference. In the circumstances, they felt they had no option but to pull out.

As an organisation, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies walks the, at times uncomfortable and ambiguous, line between prison reform and prison abolition. We recognise the urgency of much-needed prison reform in the here-and-now. We also champion the need for sustained decarceration. We are inspired by the possibility of the long-term abolition of prison, while realising that this would be neither a simple task, nor one devoid of risk and unforeseen effects.

If decarceration and, in the longer-term, abolition are to be realised, it will require a broad-based, inclusive movement for change: one that embraces difference and diversity, and that eschews dogmatism and group-think. It will require collaborative solutions to problems and challenges; and a respectful acknowledgement of differences and disagreement.

The circumstances that have led to the cancellation of this conference highlight the profound weaknesses in the current movement for decarceration and prison abolition, and the deep need for a movement grounded in inclusive, respectful dialogue. This strengthens our resolve to contribute to the development of a strong, durable and inclusive movement.

We hope to work with many in the coming years in doing so.