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18 Aug 2022

Howard League to host international conference

What: Crime, Justice and the Human Condition: Beyond the cris(es) – reframing and reimagining justice

When: 13-14 September 2022

Keble College, University of Oxford

Journalists are welcome to attend.


More than 160 speakers – including academics, artists and the head of a justice reform organisation supported by rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill – are lined up to appear at an international conference to be held by the Howard League for Penal Reform next month.

The two-day Crime, Justice and the Human Condition conference at Keble College, Oxford, will bring together experts from across the globe, from researchers and practitioners to opinion formers and people with lived experience of the criminal justice system.

The busy schedule will include presentations by attendees from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, India, Iran, Israel, New Zealand, Nigeria, Slovenia and the US, as well as the UK.

Anita Dockley, Research Director at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The Howard League is delighted to welcome delegates from across the globe for what promises to be a fascinating and rewarding two-day event.

“This conference will provide an opportunity to reimagine how the penal system could work, and seek to examine key questions in penal reform using the lens of the human condition.

“Using participation-focused formats, the conference will explore how we can utilise our shared and diverse experiences to shape criminal justice for the better in the future, and what broader cultural and social factors can be drawn upon to shape criminal justice responses, policies and institutions.”

The conference will begin with a plenary session, titled Reimagining a framework for justice, featuring presentations by Fergus McNeill, Chair of the Howard League and Professor of Criminology and Social Work, University of Glasgow; Margaret Hannah, Director of Health Programmes at the International Futures Forum; and Uju Agomoh, Founder and Director at Prawa.

The following plenaries will take the participatory format of ‘fishbowl sessions’, allow for the audience to take an active role in sessions, setting questions which are posed to speakers and then opened for general discussion.

The first fishbowl session, Gambling as a public health issue, will feature Neil Platt, Clinical Director at Beacon Counselling Trust; Frankie Graham, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Betknowmore UK; Anna Hemmings, Chief Executive Officer at GamCare; and Gerda Reith, Professor of Social Science at the University of Glasgow.

The second fishbowl session, titled Dealing with disproportionality in youth justice, will feature speakers including Jahnine Davis, Director at Listen Up and Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel member; Aika Stephenson, Co-Founder and Legal Director at Just for Kids Law; Tim Head and Yolanda Lear from Hackney Account; and Ciaran Thapar, a London-based youth worker, activist and author.

This will be followed by a creative practice session on Games: Co-production and changing policy with Hwa Young Jung, multidisciplinary artist; Will Jackson, Lecturer in Criminology at Liverpool John Moores University; and Lorraine Gamman, Professor of Design at Central Saint Martins.

The last plenary session for the day, Refocusing justice, will include the presentation of the Howard Journal Best Article Award, as well as speakers Neil Chakraborti, Professor in Criminology at University of Leicester; Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Consultant Psychiatrist, Founder and Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic; Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive at the Centre for Mental Health; and Maggie Blyth, National Police Lead for Violence Against Women and Girls.

The second day will include a roundtable discussion on Priorities for prison reform, with speakers Andrea Albutt, President of the Prison Governors’ Association; Hindpal Singh Bhui, Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons; Berit Johnsen, Research Professor at the University College of Norwegian Correctional Service (KRUS), Norway; and Steve Gallant, Development Support Officer at the Howard League.

The next fishbowl session will be titled Peer research to strengthen reform strategies and feature speakers Victoria Boelman of the Young Foundation; Nicola Harding, Lecturer in Criminology at Lancaster University; Wendy Knight, Commission on Crime and Gambling Related Harms peer researcher; and Peter Babudu, Assistant Director of Research and Youth Understanding at the Youth Endowment Fund.

There will then be another creative practice session, titled Digital campaigning/veterans, featuring Melanie Crean, Associate Professor of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons School of Design, New York; Emma Murray, Senior Lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University; and Lucia Arias, Learning Manager at FACT Liverpool.

The conference will end with a session, titled Reimagining strategies for penal reform, featuring presentations by Robert Rooks, Tim Head and Yolanda Lear. Robert Rooks is the Chief Executive Officer at REFORM Alliance, a New York-based organisation dedicated to probation, parole and sentencing reform whose founding partners include Jay-Z and co-chairs include Meek Mill. Tim Head and Yolanda Lear are from Hackney Account, a youth-led social action project in London aiming to empower young people, generate knowledge, campaign for justice, and hold those in power to account.

Activities on the agenda over the course of the two days will include creative practice sessions with multidisciplinary artists, a yoga session led by the Prison Yoga Project, and a screening of a film by Clean Break.

The participation-focused model for the conference aims to deep-dive into crucial subject areas, and bring together audience members, speakers and academic to find answers to critical questions in criminal justice.

While the agenda is now full, tickets are still available for in-person and online attendance. Each session taking place in the O’Reilly Theatre will be live-streamed and available online, alongside international parallel sessions.

Journalists wishing to attend the Crime, Justice and the Human Condition conference should email

Notes to editors

  1. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  2. For more information about the conference, including details of other panel sessions, visit:


Noor Khan
Press and Public Affairs Officer
Mobile: +44 (0)20 7241 7873

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