2024 Memorial Drummond Hunter Lecture: Small Worlds - What Can We Learn From Iceland's Prisons?

2024 Memorial Drummond Hunter Lecture: Small Worlds - What Can We Learn From Iceland's Prisons?

Howard League Scotland
Wednesday, May 22, 2024 - 18:00
Collins Building, University of Strathclyde 22 Richmond Street, Glasgow G1 1XH

Prof. Francis Pakes is a Dutch criminologist with an interest in prisons. He has researched Nordic prisons extensively and has spent time in Iceland's open prisons to understand how they work from the inside out. His lecture will consider culture and practice in Nordic prisons. Prisons in the North are fascinating as they tend to be smaller, well equipped, and more rehabilitative than prisons elsewhere. In addition, they often operate in a way that is thought to be impossible. Sometimes men and women serve time together, while in other settings sex offenders and other vulnerable prisoners mix with other prisoners. Below the surface there is much that puzzles us, once we examine these prisons more closely. This presentation will particularly zoom in on Iceland's prisons. These are small microcosms often set in beautiful settings where prisoners have more opportunity to engage with the outside world, where food is good and staff-prisoner relationships are cordial. But is there more than meets the eye? This talk will seek to truly portray these prisons warts and all, further to an immersive research project that allowed Francis Pakes to scrutinise these prisons from the inside.

He is professor at the University of Portsmouth and has published extensively in prisons, and on comparative criminal justice. His book, comparative criminal justice is its fourth edition. He is driven by seeking to understand both what prisons are like, across the world and what prisons are for. 

The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session and informal drinks reception.