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Prison reform – KESS Seminar

18th January 2017 @ 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm

The Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS) is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, formally partnering a legislative arm of government – the Northern Ireland Assembly – with academia. Aiming to encourage debate and improve understanding, KESS provides a forum to present and disseminate research findings in a straightforward format, making those findings easily accessible to decision-makers. Seminars are free to attend. To register email raise@niassembly.gov.uk



1.30pm – Welcome

1.35pm – Assembly Committee Chair – Opening Remarks 

1.45pm – Dr Michelle Butler (QUB) – The Northern Ireland Prison Reform Programme: Progress Made and Challenges Remaining

With the devolution of justice powers to the Stormont Assembly following the Hillsborough Agreement (2010), a commitment was given to undertake a review of prison conditions, management and oversight. The findings emerging from this review fed into a significant penal reform programme which was launched in 2011 (DOJNI, 2011).

In the final report emerging from this review, 40 recommendations were put forward, outlining “the kind of prison system that could and should be constructed” (Prison Review Team, 2011: 5). The achievement of these 40 recommendations have been used by many as a barometer to judge the success of these reforms. Drawing on publically available administrative data, this presentation will reflect on the reform journey so far. Key achievements will be reviewed before moving on to discuss some of the main challenges remaining. Comparisons will be drawn with other jurisdictions and insights from academia will be put forward to demonstrate how evidence-based research can be used to inform policy development, practice and reform.

2.05pm – Discussion

2.35pm – RaISe – Closing Remarks

2.40pm – Networking and Refreshments


18th January 2017
1:30 pm - 2:45 pm
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Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)


Long Gallery
Parliament Buildings, Stormont
Belfast, BT4 3XX United Kingdom
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