These are my opening remarks from the Tackling Penal Excess event, held on September 13, 2012.
Good afternoon. My name is Richard Garside and I’m the director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this important and timely event.
In the United Kingdom more than two million of our fellow citizens are each year subject to some form of penal sanction, including imprisonment, house arrest, community punishment, fines, cautions and penalty notices.
This will strike many in this room and beyond as excessive. What a coherent response to this excess might be and what the realistic strategies to tackle it might look like are some of the questions we will explore this afternoon.
The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is committed to working with others to build a durable and significant coalition to challenge penal excess and to champion realistic alternatives to it.
The success of such a coalition will be down to the contribution of many here today, as well as of many others we hope will join us in the future.
The test of its durability will be in our shared endeavour and commitment, rather than the drive and determination of any one organisation or individual.
We are delighted to be hosting this afternoon’s discussion. Our long-term contribution will be but one among many others.
So thank you all for coming. I hope that the afternoon proves to be energising and productive.