Gates scholar comments on UK penal reform

  • November 30, 2010
Gates scholar comments on UK penal reform

Fiona Roughley writes op-ed in Sydney Morning Herald.

Gates scholar Fiona Roughley [2010] has written an opinion piece on UK penal reform for the Sydney Morning Herald.

In the article, Revolution behind bars may come at too high a price [20 November], she sets out the UK Government’s policy for reducing the number of people held in prison. She writes: “An interesting development is a proposal to introduce results-based incentives for private operators. An example would be reward payments for prison operators who reduce, through more effective rehabilitation, the recidivism rates of its inmates once released.

“Reducing recidivism through effective, targeted rehabilitation measures is good policy. As are measures designed to reduce the number of persons incarcerated on remand because of failures in the policy areas of mental health, homelessness, and drug and alcohol addiction.”

She argues, however, that although the policy is radical, the fact that one of its primary aims is to reduce costs might make for unintended consequences. She says: “‘Radical penal reform’ is to be attempted on a shoestring.The deficit may turn out to be not only the motivating rationale for this bold new attempt at penal policy, but also what undermines its prospects of success. This is revolution at, and perhaps for, a price.”

Fiona is doing an LLM [Master of Law] Law programme at the University of Cambridge. Prior to this, she worked for two of Australia’s highest institutions of government: the High Court of Australia and the Upper House of Australia’s Federal Parliament (the Senate). She says the experience she gained in both positions fed into her longstanding interest in how governments, the legal system, and advocates in general could better serve those who fall between society’s gaps in opportunities and representation. At Cambridge she is studying jurisprudence, civil liberties and human right. She plans to return to Australia next year to pursue a career as a barrister and in law reform.

Picture credit: Renjith Krishnan and www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

Latest News

Affecting change for the Māori community

Self-determination lies at the centre of Māori culture. “It’s a way of life,” says Chris Tooley. That idea is also at the heart of his PhD studies at Cambridge and his subsequent work in Parliament and in the community. Chris grew up with a strong sense of being part of the Māori community. He has ancestral […]

On the COVID frontline

Three Gates Cambridge scholars who have been on the medical frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic will be speaking about their experiences at a virtual event next weekend. The event, organised by the Gates Cambridge Alumni Association, will be moderated by Elizabeth Dzeng, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco in the […]

New game tackles Covid conspiracies

A new online game that puts players in the shoes of a purveyor of fake pandemic news is the latest tactic in the UK Government’s efforts to tackle the deluge of coronavirus misinformation that is misleading many and costing lives across the world. Launched to the public today, the Go Viral! game has been developed by the […]

“Democracy does not work on a ‘trust me’ basis”

When Jennifer Gibson started her MPhil at Cambridge in 2001 as part of the inaugural class of Gates Scholars, no-one knew what it meant to be a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Twenty years later, Jennifer is now a human rights lawyer focused on national security issues, something she never could have anticipated, but which she credits in no small part […]