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Are Hope and Possibility Achievable in Prison? The Case of Warren Hill

  • Date: 11 Feb 2019

11 February 2019, 3.30–5.00pm

Room B4, Institute of Criminology, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA

This seminar, hosted jointly by the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice and the Prisons Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, aimed at developing the findings of this recently published article, will be led by Professor Ian Loader will be in conversation with Professor Alison Liebling and Sonia Walsh, Governor of Warren Hill.

Abstract: There is both hope and frustration in Warren Hill. A recent research exercise found it to be inspirational in its ethos, relationships and mission. Prisoners talked passionately about their experiences in it and its impact on their personal development. But they received very little resettlement support and things sometimes went wrong as soon as they were released, not because of any ‘moral failings’ on their part, but because they could not even navigate the journey ‘home’. It looked like everything we know cumulatively about ‘better prisons’, but its prisoners were failed as they transitioned out. The authors argue that more ‘tragic imagination’ – or acknowledgement of the struggles and dramas that underlie penal policy – is required. Acknowledging the tragedy of ‘a world like this’ (Williams 2016) makes it more likely that we notice the conflicts present in policy and practice, and that we treat ‘the offender’ as ‘one of us’, who ‘could have been me’ (Muir 1977).

The article is currently available free to access at

All welcome, please indicate your intention to come along by contacting the Howard League’s research director Anita Dockley

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