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Crime, Punishment and Faith in Change by Prof Fergus McNeill

Fergus McNeill is Professor of Criminology and Social Work at the University of Glasgow in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research and in Sociology.  Before working in academia he worked in residential drug rehabilitation and as a criminal justice social worker.  This is a podcast of a talk he gave exploring the issues of crime, punishment and concepts of rehabilitation. Read more

Value For Money? by David Breakspear

In my experience, during this journey of a reformed man, I have come to realise, that, to some in society, it matters not how much an individual, being released from prison, has turned their life around and rehabilitated. Ready for life in the free world into the supporting arms of an accepting society! Surely that should be the case, should it not? Isn’t that why we have a prison system. Read more

Prison Monitors: “They’re the old gits that visit, right?” by Mark Leech

Four years ago, I was invited to take part in a Ministry of Justice (MOJ) review designed to reform the long-discredited system of Independent Monitoring in our prisons.

I genuinely expected this vital review would finally bring the crucial ‘root and branch’ reform to prison monitoring that so many, myself included, had spent years calling for – looking back four years now, and at the new system of governance that as a result of the review that comes into effect today [1st Nov], I really should have known better. Read more

Action Research: The Situation I am In; The View From The Other Side by Alex Dunedin

What follows is the writing up of my lived experience of struggling with the over bureaucratisation of my life.  It became a project when several years ago I realised that I was going between several agencies all tasked with supporting me trying to rehabilitate from a life where I had been homeless.  I fell into what is categorised as ‘multiple needs’. Read more

Let Them Out And Throw Away The Key by Michael Irwin

“Prisoner (22) dies at Northern Ireland Jail” – This is a minor line in The Belfast Telegraph today: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/prisoner-22-dies-at-northern-ireland-jail-37266751.html

My first reaction is choking back the tears, sadness, revulsion and anger. Who’s my anger directed it and why should I care. The word ‘care’ is highly relevant here. The sanitised bog standard reply by the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) is almost predictable as I’ve heard it so many times. Read more

Trouble in Paradise: ‘Positive Prison ? Positive Futures…’; An Interview with Pete White

What kind of society do you want to live in ?  One which is structured around control and retribution or one which is built on the principles of rehabilitation and forgiveness ?  For me this question sits at the heart of what we refer to as the law and criminal justice system.  Read more