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 new 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.

What If…? Women's imprisonment was abolished?

Tuesday 23rd June 2015, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

London School of Economics, Room NAB 2.04, New Academic Building, 54 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ

Part of the What If? pamphlet series challenging conventional thinking on penal issues.

We know that the majority of women in prison are there for low level offences and short sentences; we know that many have been offended against, and we know that many have long histories of complex and unmet need that relate to their social circumstances, their previous victimisation, their addiction problems and their mental health. We know that many reoffend and return to prison again and again. What is the purpose of prison for women? Should prison be the provider of drug detox, social care, respite, mental health care and temporary housing? The solution to these problems lies beyond the criminal justice system, and beyond prison in particular. What if we radically reappraised the purpose of prison for women? What if we redirected our resources to provide more alternatives to prosecution, more appropriate provision of community–based sanctions, and refocused our thinking towards the goal of social justice?

The idea will be propounded by Professor Michele Burman, Professor of Criminology at the University of Glasgow.

Discussants: Sian James, Former MP, Swansea East

Book your place

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. 

The Howard League and the Mannheim Centre are committed to generating two or three pamphlets each academic year. Although we have many ideas about issues we would like to address, we are keen to hear your ideas about issues that you would like to see on our agenda.

If you have any ideas please email Anita Dockley, Research Director.