International experts meet in London to debate dismantling UK criminal justice system



Expert speakers from the United States, Australia and the UK will meet on 19 November (1) for a public debate about how to end the UK’s reliance on punishment and prisons. The event comes in the wake of the government’s recently announced prison rebuilding programme as part of the Chancellor’s spending review.

The event is organised by the Reclaim Justice Network (2) and the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative at The Open University (3)

Dr Deborah Drake from Reclaim Justice Network, UK said:

‘Over the last thirty years, our society has been persuaded to use ‘criminal justice’ as a way of solving social problems. The amount of people criminalised as well as the numbers sent to prison have spiralled out of control. In many cases, criminal justice reforms have just expanded the system and delivered more harmful outcomes’

Dr Erica R Meiners, from the Northeastern University Illinois, USA said:

‘The UK is in danger of following the same path of policy makers in the United States, despite it being clear that this has been a disaster for vulnerable communities. It is time for the UK to put a handbrake on criminal justice expansion and look for another approach’

Dr Bree Carlton of Monash University, Australia said:

‘Campaigns often focus on improving conditions within penal institutions or reducing the use of custody for alternatives. However, as quickly as these are taken up, they are absorbed and co-opted into criminal justice policies and ‘programs’ that extend the system, becoming repressive and regressive, resulting in ‘widening the net’ of punishment, prisons and control.’

For more:



(1) The event will be held at Woborn Suite, Room 22/26, University College London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, beginning at 18:30 for a 19:00 start, finishing at 21:00. To download the flyer for this event click here. To register for the event click here.

Panelists will be:

  • Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski, PhD Student, The Open University
  • Dr Bree Carlton, Monash University, Australia
  • Deborah Coles, Inquest
  • Dr Erica R Meiners, Northeastern University Illinois, USA
  • Neena Samota, StopWatch UK
  • Empty Cages Collective
  • London Campaign Against Police & State Violence

(2) Reclaim Justice Network is a collaboration of individuals, advocacy groups, practitioners, researchers and people most directly affected by criminal justice systems, who are working together to radically reduce the size and scope of criminal justice systems and to build effective and socially just alternatives. Learn more at

(3) Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative is the new name recently adopted by The International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR) at The Open University


This entry was posted in Events and Meetings, Press releases. Bookmark the permalink.