Can Human Beings Flourish in Prison?

The CCJS Annual Lecture 2013 will be delivered by Professor Alison Liebling from the University of Cambridge. The response will be provided by Paul Baker, Governor at HMP Leeds.

Centre for Criminal Justice Studies Annual Lecture 2013

The CCJS Annual Lecture 2013 will be delivered by Professor Alison Liebling from the University of Cambridge. The response will be provided by Paul Baker, Governor at HMP Leeds. The event will be followed by a wine reception.

Attendance is free but registration is required.


Speaker Biographies

Alison Liebling is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Cambridge and the founder and Director of the Institute of Criminology’s Prisons Research Centre. Her main interests lie in the effects of imprisonment; the role of values in criminal justice; and in the role of safety, trust and fairness in shaping the prison experience.

She has carried out a significant programme of research on measuring the moral quality of prison life, the effectiveness of suicide prevention strategies in prison, and values, practices and outcomes in public and private sector corrections. This cumulative body of work, with others, has suggested that the concept of 'personal development' may function as an intermediate outcome measure when evaluating the effects of prison sentences.

She is particularly interested in the role of prison officers in bridging the ‘gap’ between interventions and the prison environment. Her most recent research is on prison privatization, and staff-prisoner relationships in high security prisons. She has recently been awarded new research contracts to explore the measurement and conceptualization of prison climates and cultures, an evaluation of drug recovery wings (with a team from York University), and an evaluation of payment by results projects (with RAND and ARCS, Cambridge).

Alison has published several books, including Suicides in Prison (1992), Prisons and their Moral Performance: A Study of Values, Quality and Prison Life (2004), and (with Shadd Maruna) The Effects of Imprisonment (2005). She has also published widely in criminological journals. She has recently completed a repeat of a highly regarded study of staff-prisoner relationships at Whitemoor high security prison, which explored the changing nature of high security prison dynamics, as well as a second edition of her book, The Prison Officer, and an edited collection on prison officers and prison culture (in the European Journal of Criminology), in which she reflects on what is distinctive about the work, skills and expertise of prison officers.

Paul Baker has been Governor at HMP Leeds since 2010. He joined the Prison Service in 1996 and worked at HMPs Coldingley, Acklington, Frankland, Wormwood Scrubs, The Mount and Pentonville before taking charge of his first establishment at HMP Norwich. He also spent a year working as Staff Officer to Phil Wheatley, the first Deputy Director General of the Prison Service in 2000 and was Secretary to the Targeted Performance Initiative Working Group led by Lord Laming of Tewin in 2001. In 2002, Paul received a Special Commendation from the Howard League for Penal Reform for his dedication to supporting newly received inmates.

HMP Leeds employs over 500 staff and has a budget of £23m. Amongst the prison’s many achievements, it was the first public sector prison to gain Investors in Excellence accreditation, and was the first prison to be nominated for a Home Office Tilley Award for its work to reduce drug-related crime. HMP Leeds also won Regional Prison Officer of the Year awards for Decency, Respect and overall Manager of the Year Award. 

To attend the event

If you are interested in attending the event, please contact Dawn Amesbury at

Location Details

The event will be held in the Liberty Building, School of Law, Moorland Road, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT (if using SatNav, please use postcode LS6 1AN).

The Liberty Building is situated on the corner of Moorland Road and Belle Vue Road on the Western Campus of the University of Leeds. It is situated behind the Maurice Keyworth Building (Business School). It is shown on the map below and building no 16 on the campus map.