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“Why People Stop Doing Crime” – The 2018 Longford Lecture

28th November 2018 

For the 2018 Longford Lecture, and faced by unprecedented strains in our criminal justice system, the trustees decided to try something different. One of their number, Jon Snow, the distinguished broadcaster, chaired a discussion with the straightforward title of, “Why People Stop Doing Crime”. Joining him on stage were three current Longford Scholars, Jacob Dunne, CJ Burge and Imran Shaukat, as well as the City financier Egerton Bayode. Each talked to Jon about their backgrounds, how they had found themselves in prison, and what made them take the path of rehabilitation. They drew on their experiences, of those they have met on that path, and on the successful careers they are now building, to identify what has to change if there are to be fewer people in prison, and fewer ex-prisoners who return time and again to prison.

Here is a selection of the points they made:

  • if you were a Cabinet minister, Jon asks Imran, what would you do about prisons? “Tackle [prisoners’] boredom,” he replies
  • same question to Egerton: “encourage the arts,” he says, “how else will we know if we have the next Leonardo di Caprio in there at the moment”?
  • “promote education,” urges CJ, studying for a degree has changed her life
  • what is the key to improving rehabilitation and prison culture, Jacob is asked: “kindness”
  • almost half of all prisoners reoffend, Jon points out. How can this change? “Tackle root issues of identity, education and mindset,” says Egerton
  • “more focus needed on restorative justice,” urges Jacob

Normally we provide a transcript of our annual lectures, and an edited 15-minute film of the highlights in our “Frank Talks” series. But because this was more discussion than lecture – made all the more powerful by impassioned contributions from the audience, many with first-hand knowledge, we have decided not to edit the film this year, and believe moreover that a transcript would fail to convey the strength with which our panellists spoke.  If you want to find a way forward for our over-crowded, creaking criminal justice system,  we urge you to make the time to watch this debate in full (above) and get caught up in the passion of the event.

“Tonight has been about hope in a sea of distress,” Jon Snow concludes at the end. “The human spirit is flowing in these four people on stage.”

A lively debate about the lecture has been going on since on our Twitter feed. Why not join in by clicking here.