Policy Press

Tackling prison overcrowding

Build more prisons? Sentence fewer offenders?

Edited by Mike Hough, Rob Allen and Enver Solomon


Oct 22, 2008

Page count

152 pages

Browse the series

Researching Criminal Justice




245 x 170 mm


Policy Press
Tackling prison overcrowding

"Tackling prison overcrowding" is a response to controversial proposals for prisons and sentencing set out in by Lord Patrick Carter's "Review of Prisons", published in 2007.

The Carter review proposed the construction of vast 'Titan' prisons to deal with the immediate problem of prison overcrowding, the establishment of a Sentencing Commission as a mechanism for keeping judicial demand for prison places in line with supply, along with further use of the private sector, including private sector management methods.

"Tackling prison overcrowding" comprises nine chapters by leading academic experts, who expose these proposals to critical scrutiny. They take the Carter Report to task for construing the problems too narrowly, in terms of efficiency and economy, and for failing to understand the wider issues of justice that need addressing. They argue that the crisis of prison overcrowding is first and foremost a political problem - arising from penal populism - for which political solutions need to be found.

This accessible report will be of interest to policy makers, probation practitioners, academics and other commentators on criminal policy.

Mike Hough is Professor of Criminal Policy at the School of Law, King's College London, and Director of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research.

Rob Allen is Director of the International Centre for Prison Studies, School of Law, King's College London.

Enver Solomon is Deputy Director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, School of Law, King's College London.

Introduction ~ Mike Hough and Enver Solomon; The prisoners' dilemma in England and Wales ~ Nicola Lacey; Building on sand: why expanding the prison estate is not the way to 'secure the future' ~ Carol Hedderman; A sentencing commission for England and Wales? ~ Jessica Jacobson, Julian Roberts and Mike Hough; 'Titan' prisons: do size, efficiency and legitimacy matter? ~ Alison Liebling; Private punishment? An examination of the expansion, development and employment relations of private prisons ~ Sanjiv Sachdev; Reducing the use of custody as a sanction: A review of recent international experiences ~ Julian Roberts; Where now? ~ Rod Morgan; Endnote ~ Rob Allen.