Seminar: Steal a little & they throw you in jail, steal a lot & they make you king

TITLE: Steal a little & they throw you in jail, steal a lot & they make you king

SPEAKER: Joe Sim – Professor of Criminology at Liverpool John Moores University

DATE: Wednesday, 6th May 2009

VENUE: DASS Common Room, Colin Bell Building

TIME: 12.30pm – 1.30pm

ABSTRACT:  The seminar will focus on the relationship between the prison and the state under both Conservative and New Labour governments. It will challenge the idea of discontinuity in the process of punishment which has become a dominant discourse within criminology and instead will argue for an analysis which emphasise the continuity between the political parties not only in the punishment of the powerless but also with respect to the non punishment of the powerful. This raises some key issues about the nature of state power itself and its relationship to prisons which the lecture will explore. The lecture will also focus on the problem of liberal reform and the legitimation which liberal groups provide for the expansion of the prison network despite their public denunciations of the state of the prisons. It will conclude by raising the issue of political strategy for dealing with the prison as a social problem and for the need to reassert an abolitionist position as a key underpinning element in this strategy.

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