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What if? A series of challenging pamphlets

What is ‘What if…?’

The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Mannheim Centre at the London School of Economics are working in partnership to establish a pamphlet series that challenges conventional thinking on penal issues. We are working with established and well thought of thinkers, academics and practitioners to develop innovative, and perhaps controversial, ideas that can work as a stimulus to new policy initiatives and ultimately achieve change.

How it works

We are keen to test, challenge and improve the initial ideas to be promulgated in the pamphlet. To achieve this, the author subjects their ideas to ‘peer review’ at an invitee seminar, with the ideas initially subject to scrutiny from one or two discussants and then from the invited audience.

Following the seminar the author is invited to prepare the paper for publication.


What if we rethought parole?

The event was held on Tuesday 22 June 2017 the London School of Economics

This event aimed to look at the workings of the parole system in England and Wales. More specifically what if it is for the State to prove to the Parole Board that a prisoner is not safe for release?  More people are serving indeterminate prison sentences in England and Wales than in the other 46 countries in the Council of Europe combined. Academics and criminal justice professionals challenged the current system for deciding if someone can safely be released from prison and suggest an alternative way of approaching risk and release from prison for those serving the longest sentences.

The panel:

  • Nicola Padfield, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
  • Professor Nick Hardwick, Chair, Parole Board
  • Dr Laura Janes, Legal Director, Howard League for Penal Reform
  • Chair: Dr Meredith Rossner, LSE

You can download the podcast from the event here.

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