Skip to main content
July 2023

Locked In? Achieving penal change in the context of crisis and scandal

Moments of crisis and scandal are an ever-present feature of the political cycle and the decisions taken in the heat of the moment can, and frequently do, have consequences and policy legacies that last for decades. The neat distinction sometimes drawn between ‘normal’ and ‘exceptional’ times is a convenient fiction that distracts us from how the criminal justice system operates.

This discussion paper, written by Harry Annison and Thomas Guiney, with assistance from Zoë Rubenstein, aims to shine a light on these these important themes, and support those with a stake in the penal system to better understand the forces at work during these intense periods.

Produced in collaboration with the Prison Reform Trust’s Building Futures Programme, it encourages a conversation about the tools and resources needed to navigate a more principled course during times of extraordinary turmoil.