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Saturday 24 February 2018
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A call to action - confronting penal excess in the UK


Thursday 13 September 2012, 1.30pm

CCJS, 2 Langley Lane, London, SW8 1GB

The footprint criminal justice occupies in our society has grown and continues to do so. We can see this simply by looking at the expansion of police, courts, prisons and probation and the number of people subjected to criminal justice sanctions. The UK prison population has doubled over the last two decades to 100,000 and all the indications are that prison numbers will remain persistently high.


Criminal justice has cast its shadow over other institutions to include housing, employment, education where conditionality and punishment operate on criminal justice principles and feed into the formal criminal justice system. This process has been described in a variety of ways - `governing through crime'; the `criminalisation of social policy'; the `penal industrial complex'; and the `shadow carceral state'.


While there is concern about poor conditions within the criminal justice system, CCJS thinks there is an urgent need to collaboratively map out future work to oppose penal excess and advocate for a radical reduction in the footprint of criminal justice in the UK.


At the final event of CCJS's Reform Sector Strategies project in May 2012, a group of people came together and voiced their interest and commitment to build a broad based coalition to confront penal excess.


This is an appeal to those who want to build a broad based coalition to confront penal excess in the UK focused on the long term goal of radically reducing the overall size and scope of criminal justice.


There is a significant layer of organisations and individuals who recognise that the path to a safer society lies outside of criminal justice. This is about seeking out and promoting ideas and programmes that:


  • Expose the realities and failures of criminal justice
  • Oppose and resist any expansion of criminal justice
  • Promote a radical reduction in the size of criminal justice
  • Identify social, political and economic reforms that will reduce our reliance on criminal justice and promote greater safety and less harm




CCJS will be hosting a meeting on Thursday 13 September at 1.30pm to get this started.


If you are interested in making a contribution and helping to build a coalition of individuals and organisations then please come along. The meeting will take place at 2 Langley Lane, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1GB.


You can register to attend this event by emailing If you want to find out more information please visit