What are the alternatives to prison?

Date: 
Wednesday, 22 April, 2015

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool, held a workshop on alternatives to prison on 21 April 2015. Attended by around 70 campaigners, academics, researchers and activists, participants were presented with the following questions: 

  1. How can we make prisons obsolete?
  2. What are the available policy and practice solutions to harm that do not rely on punishment and exclusion?
  3. What are the challenges and opportunities for building coalitions and support for advancing this work?

This event was held as part of the Centres' Justice Matters initiative to downsize criminal justice and build policy and practice alternatives. The audience discussed ideas, opportunities and challenges for building practices and policies to make sure that criminal justice responses are no longer required.

We had three brief introductions, all of which can be viewed below. This was followed by a lively and wide-ranging discussion. Prison Watch UK covered the event via a live blog and tweeting. They will be adding more content to their website over the coming week. 


Rebecca Roberts, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. Watch on Vimeo.

Dr John Moore, University of the West of England. Watch on Vimeo.

Dr Deborah Drake, The Open University and Reclaim Justice Network. Watch on Vimeo


UPDATE, 30/04/2015: You can now listen to what some members of the audience had to say about alternatives to prison on the Prison Watch UK website.


Further information: 

  • Check out #prisonalternatives to track the twitter conversation from the event.
  • As part of our Justice Matters project, we have invited people to submit their ideas on what criminal justice policy or practice could be abolished and what could be built instead. You can read some of the responses online here. If you have an idea about what you would build in place of criminal justice then email us.
  • Read Abi Amey's take on the event here.
  • Sign up to receive regular Justice Matters updates.