Earlier this year David Cameron made the first Prime Ministerial speech devoted to prison reform for a generation. He called for the “biggest shake-up of prisons since the Victorian era”, and argued said prisoners should be seen as “potential assets to be harnessed” while citing the “failure of our system today is scandalous”.
Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, has argued “No government serious about building one nation, no minister concerned with greater social justice, can be anything other than horrified by our persistent failure to reduce re-offending”.
This new thinking with regard to penal reform contrasts with the conservatism around drug policy.
Given the scale of use-related, acquisitive and system-related crimes linked to illicit drugs and the burden it places on our criminal justice system, is it possible to radically reform prisons without moving on drug reform?
That is the theme of our event, ‘Betwixt and Between: Prison and Drug Reform’, which features prominent members of both the prison and drug reform communities.
Follow the debate on the night over on Twitter #VFReform
Our Chair on the night is Philippa, who has a background in journalism with the BBC. She is now a criminal justice media consultant. Tweets @PhilippaBudgen
Alex is an author and a social anthropologist. A former prisoner, he is now a vocal campaigner for prison reform. Tweets
Penelope is Director of Transform Justice and Chair of the Standing Committe for Youth Justice. She is a former magistrate. Tweets
Andrew is Director of Campaigns at The Howard League for Penal Reform. Tweets
David is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy and King’s College London, with a focus on crime, prison and gangs. He is also author of The Social Order of the Underworld. Tweets @DavidSkarbek
Neil is a Former Undercover Drugs Detective Sergeant and Chairman of the UK branch of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP UK). Tweets
We look forward to seeing you there!