The unthinking acceptance of prisons as inevitable social institutions is preventing us from thinking beyond them, argues Richard Garside
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.
The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and the Harm & Evidence Research Collaborative at The Open University, in partnership with Professor Joe Sim of Liverpool John Moores University, will be holding a major conference on prison abolition in the UK in 2019.
The conference will be on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 May, at The Open University campus in Milton Keynes.
The prison system in the UK is in ongoing, systemic crisis. While politicians pay lip service to the need to reduce prisoner numbers, further growth and expansion are far more likely.
Our Director Richard spoke about the prisons crisis at a meeting of the Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique earlier this week.
Richard said that that 'the prisons crisis is not, fundamentally, a crisis in prisons: one that can be resolved if the right reforms, the right action, is taken. It is a crisis of prisons: of our unbending attempts to treat a complex set of social problems - violence, drug, alcohol and mental health problems, poverty and disadvantage, social antagonisms - as if they are a simple set of crime problems, be resolved through punishment'.
The text of the speech Richard Garside gave yesterday to the Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique
Plans to close Holloway prisons should be the start of a move to close all the large women's prisons, Rona Epstein argues
Rebecca Roberts and Claire Cain call for a managed reduction in the women's prison population alongside the closure of HMP Holloway.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, has set out his priorities for the Spending Review and identified the country's prisons 'as an example of one public service badly in need of reform'.
Mr Osborne called for a need to focus on rehabilitation and training – to be pursued by Justice Secretary, Michael Gove. He also announced a prison building programme:
Rebecca Roberts comments on Angela Davis' recent lecture and abolitionist struggles.
This is a copy of a speech presented by Richard Garside during a debate at an event organised by Cambridge University Student's Union on Thursday 2 March 2006.