Criminal Justice in a Pandemic: The Prisons

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  • In these two public webinars from the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge, the panels explore the enormous additional pressures that the pandemic has imposed on the criminal justice system.

    In this second webinar we look at the current conditions in English prisons and explore why more has not been done for those in custody throughout the pandemic.

    At the beginning of April, the government announced plans for the early release of up to 4,000 prisoners in England and Wales, to reduce prison overcrowding and to slow the rate of infection among prisoners and staff. The Prison Governors Association and Public Health England argued that releasing 10,000 – 15,000 prisoners was needed. By late April, though, a mere 33 prisoners had been released. What went wrong? What has happened throughout May? What have been the implications for the welfare/health/progression of both prisoners and staff? What are the lessons to be learnt now, and for the future – within the prison and probation systems?

    Discussing the issues:

    Chair: Nicky Padfield, Professor of Criminal and Penal Justice

    Nicky is joined by a panel of experts:

    – Andrea Albutt (President, Prison Governors Association);
    – Richard Garside (Director, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies);
    – Laura Janes (Legal Director, Howard League for Penal Reform);
    – (Retired) Judge John Samuels QC (ex-Parole Board and President, Prisoners’ Education Trust); and
    – Jessie Smith (Cambridge PhD candidate in Law, solicitor, formerly specialising in national security).

    The first webinar on the Courts is at:

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