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Prison Safety and Reform: Restoring Stability, Transforming Lives

June 27 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Phone Telephone: (0161) 376 9007      Book now Register your interest View Programme

Overview                         View Programme

“This is a blueprint for the biggest overhaul of our prisons in a generation” – Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice; Foreword to Prison and Reform White Paper.

Prison-eventbrite (002)The Prisons Safety and Reform White Paper sets out the government proposals to invest £1.3bn in new prisons over the next five years and plans for over 2,100 extra officers to be in place by 2018 at a cost of £104m a year. Our conference agenda will explore how stability to prisons can be restored through improved safety and security, developing and recruiting staff and empowering prison governors and leaders.

There is a growing crisis in the prison service. Official figures from the Ministry of Justice show a new high of 65 assaults in jails every day. Assaults on prison staff have risen to their highest level on record with 5,954 assaults in the year to June, an increase of 43%. 697 of these cases were recorded as serious. Self-inflicted deaths had risen by 28% and in the same period 321 people died in prison custody, an increase of 30%. Staff shortages, out-of-date prison facilities and rise in the number of prisoners have led to a system that is under sustained and serious pressure. These stark figures lay bare the urgent need for prison reform.

A key focus of the white paper reforms is offering frontline officers more support by boosting staffing levels to make prisons safe and more secure. Staff and leaders will be supported to develop their skills helping to resolve tension before violence breaks out, carry out searches for weapons and drugs, and building mentor relationships with offenders. An ambitious £1.3bn prison building programme will see 10,000 places created in modern, efficient facilities and the worst performing jails to be closed. Alongside improved working conditions plans aim to give governors and leaders more flexibility and greater autonomy to reform institutions and improve outcomes for offenders. From April 2017 governors will be able to choose behavioural programmes, commission healthcare service jointly with NHS managers and gain control of education budgets.

Prison Safety and Reform: Restoring Stability, Transforming Lives will explore how to implement the proposals for prison reform and help drive forward improvements in prison and supporting services. The challenge of transforming lives and creating purposeful centres of reform requires a huge structural and cultural change, this conference agenda will support those working within and supporting the prison system to raise standards and make our prisons places of safety and reform.

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The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke, has warned that jails had become “unacceptably violent and dangerous places”. Rates of violence and self-harm have increased significantly in recent years, with assaults on prison staff increasing by 43% over twelve months and self-arm by over a quarter. Prisons are facing new security challenges with a sharp rise in the number of drones used to fly and drop contraband over prison walls and nearly 17,000 mobile phones and SIM cards found in prisons in 2015 alone. The performance of prisons appears to have worsened, with six jails given “serious concern” by inspectors compared with only three in 2014-15. Currently nearly half of all prisoners go on to re-offend within a year with an estimated cost to society of £15bn a year. The Secretary of State for Justice has had prisons are not working, so what needs to be done to make our prisons places of safety and reform?

To tackle the most pressing threats to safety and security in prisons the government have set plans to invest in staff, strengthen search capability to stop contraband entering prison and reducing supply and demand for drugs and illicit mobile devices. The Crown Prosecution Service, police and others in the criminal justice system are expected to work together to ensure a robust response to tackling criminality in prisons. Alongside the announcements to boost staff numbers investment will aim to further improve capability by providing the right tools, training and support for existing staff to enable them to do their job more effectively and take on new responsibilities such as one-to-one support to prisoners. Campaigns for new talent include a direct entry scheme for managers, a new graduate recruitment scheme and a target to increase the number of former armed forces personnel working in the prison system.

Significant reforms set out in the White paper aim to transform how our prisons are run and aim to give prisoners the skills they need to become law-abiding citizens when they are released. To help raise standards new performance measures for every prison will be set from April 2017 and an annual league table for prison performance published. Alongside this greater accountability prison governors will be given greater devolved powers to determine how their prisons are run, including how to prioritise and deliver services within their prisons. Greater decision making is set to include authority over workforce planning, budgets and a range of service provision. Devolving control over healthcare, education, work, family ties, offender behavior and resettlement programmes will allow governors to decide how their budget will be spent to deliver a strategy focused on safety and sustained improvement. More empowered governors will be tasked to implement tangible improvements by 2020 introducing new ways of working and modern technology to improve regimes, support reform and combat security threats.

A quarter of our prisons were built before 1900 and around 25% of prisoners are held in crowded conditions. Over the next four years £1.3 billion has been earmarked to reform the prison estate and build up to 10,000 new adult prison places. The vison is to ensure the estate becomes less crowded, better organised and more effective. The aim is for prison staff and prisoners to work and live in a safe and secure environment that is modern and fit for the purpose of helping prisoners reform. It was also announced that there will also be a major programme of closures over the next five years for old and inefficient prisons. This will require significant planning and reform of the estate and could create further stresses on the system at the same time services are tasked with delivering the biggest structural and cultural change in a generation.

Prison Safety and Reform: Restoring Stability, Transforming Lives will explore how to implement the proposals for prison reform and help drive forward improvements in prison and supporting services. The challenge of transforming lives and creating purposeful centres of reform requires a huge structural and cultural change, this conference agenda will support those working within and supporting the prison system to raise standards and make our prisons places of safety and reform.

Benefits of Attending View Programme

  • Learn more about the government plans to reform the UK prison system and how proposals can be implemented to drive improvement.
  • Practical insights into how staff and leaders can be best supported to develop their skills to resolve tension before violence breaks out, carry out searches for weapons and drugs, and building mentor relationships with offenders.
  • Learn how prison and supporting services can make the key recommendations of the Prison Reform White Paper a reality.
  • Gain a greater understanding of plans for more autonomy and flexibility for governors.
  • Practical guidance on how to implement behavioural programmes, commission healthcare service jointly with NHS managers and manage education budgets effectively.
  • Learn how to develop a robust response to tackling criminality in prisons, exploring the right tools, training and support for existing staff to enable them to do their job more effectively and take on new responsibilities such as one-to-one support to prisoners.
  • More information on plans to boost staff numbers and how to implement them.
  • Guidance on managing cultural and structural change and delivering successful, large scale reform.
  • Exploring how to reduce reoffender rates and associated costs to society and prison system.
  • Explore effective workforce planning to deliver right capacity and skills for service expansion and how to promote staff health and wellbeing.
  • Benefit from the opportunity to question, discuss and debate the very latest policies and new ways of working.
  • Share you own stories and experiences with the conference and contribute to wider thinking about prison reform.
  • Take advantage of knowledge sharing and professional networking.
  • Gain the maximum number of 6 CPD points.

Please see Terms and Conditions.

Squarehead Technology

Squarehead Technology is a leading provider of highly directional microphone array systems for audio capture at long range or in noisy environments. Our microphone arrays combine a large number of individual microphones with an integrated camera to create a highly directional audio output. With our unique and innovative technology, we have developed a family of products covering a wide range of surveillance and security applications for law enforcement. The latest innovation is our acoustic drone detection system – Discovair.





3M Electronic Monitoring is a leading global supplier of hardware, systems and services for the electronic monitoring of offenders for justice and police markets. It provides services in more than forty jurisdictions across the world and is responsible for hardware and systems which track more than 200,000 offenders per annum. 3M solutions include Home Detention Curfew, Alcohol and GPS monitoring. In the United Kingdom, 3M provides solutions for police forces to monitor persistent offenders and is currently engaged in working with the Ministry of Justice and police to test the use of GPS tagging for justice applications.




Diane Curry OBE, Chief Executive Officer, Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group (POPS)

Diane Curry OBE is the Chief Executive of POPS and has worked for the charity for 19 years. Diane has vast experience in working within the Voluntary Sector of the Criminal Justice System and is also a qualified social worker. POPS was founded by families with experience of supporting somebody in custody and continues to be needs-led in its approach. Diane has been at the forefront of promoting the needs of offenders’ families and encouraging an innovative response to the provision of services for them that are reflective of their needs.

Diane has made outstanding contributions to the Criminal Justice Sector and is a significant pioneer and remarkable leader with regards to her work with offenders’ families and Black and Minority Ethnic Offenders.  In 2002 Diane developed and implemented the Black Prisoners Support Project (BPSP) group work programs and has had a pivotal role in setting up the charity National Body of Black Prisoner Support Group now the Coalition for Racial Justice (CRJUK). In 2006 Diane received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, in recognition for her outstanding work in this area.

In 2013 Diane was invited to become an independent scrutiny panel member for the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner and is now a member of the GMP public protest panel and the AGMA Executive Steering Group.  Diane also chairs the Greater Manchester BME Roundtable and represents POPS as a member of the Criminal Justice Alliance.  Diane is also a member of the national RR3 (Reducing Re offending Third Sector Advisory Group)

Diane also sits on the following committees: Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group (RR3), Greater Manchester Police and Crime Steering Group (PCC), The Farmer Review, The Young Review and is Chair of the BME Roundtable Manchester.

Diane is committed to developing the involvement of families in the Troubled Families agenda and nationally, desistance.


Rory Geoghegan, Head of Criminal Justice, Centre for Social Justice

Rory joined the Centre for Social Justice in 2017 as Head of Criminal Justice. Rory has previously worked in strategy at PwC and started working on criminal justice while at the Institute for Government and Policy Exchange authoring reports on policing, prisons and electronic monitoring. Rory has blended his criminal justice policy experience with frontline practice, spending five years as a police officer working across response, neighbourhoods and gangs in the Metropolitan Police. Rory graduated from the University of Oxford where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Trinity College.

Email: rory.geoghegan@centreforsocialjustice.org.uk

Twitter: @RoryGeo



Eoin Mclennan-Murray, Former President, Prison Governors Association

Eoin McLennan-Murray graduated from London University (Queen Mary College) with a BSc Hons in Biological Sciences in 1977 and joined the Prison Service in 1978 on their graduate scheme. He has worked in 10 different prisons, three of which as governing governor. In 2000 he completed his Masters Degree in Criminology and Prison Studies at The Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University. He was President of the Prison Governors’ Association for 4.5 years before retiring from the Prison Service in 2015. He subsequently became a Trustee of the Howard League for Penal  Reform and in 2016 was elected as Chair of the Trustee Board. He was also appointed as a specialist adviser to the Justice Select Committee in November 2016.




Steve Gillan, General Secretary, Prison Officers Associations

steve gillan - PASSSon of a Shipyard Worker from Greenock, Scotland.  Married with two adult children.  Lives in Basildon, Essex.

Left school in 1979 and had a variety of jobs including banking and Ford Motor Company before joining the Prison Service in 1989 as a Prison Officer at HMP Chelmsford and promoted to Senior Officer in 1997 and transferred to HMP Bullwood Hall.  He held positions on the local branch committees at both prisons as the POA Branch Secretary.  In 2001 he worked at HMP Pentonville as a Senior Officer and temporary promoted Principal Officer.


POA National Official

2000 – 2001 Assistant Secretary

2002 – 2003 National Vice Chairman

2003 – 2006 Re-elected to National Vice Chairman

2006 – 2010 Elected National Finance Officer

2010 – Present Day Elected General Secretary




Frode Berg Olsen, Business Development Director, Security, Squarehead Technology AS

Frode Berg Olsen holds a M.Sc in physics and started his career as a scientist and research manager at Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. After 13 years in reaserch and a degree in management he was part of a group founding a video analytics company focusing on high security applications. Frode Berg Olsen servered there as CEO and CTO until the company was acquired. Frode joined Squarehead Technolgy in 2012.








Peter Dawson, Director and Company Secretary, Prison Reform Trust

Peter Dawson is Director of the Prison Reform Trust. Peter spent the first 15 years of his career working in the Home Office in a variety of policy and managerial roles. This included two spells in the then Prison Department, culminating in a period on the Prisons Board.  He left Whitehall in 1999 to pursue a career within the operational arm of the Prison Service, working as a prison officer in HMP Brixton before returning there as Deputy Governor in 2002, and subsequently governing both HMP Downview (then a prison for women) and HMP High Down between 2005 and 2012. While at High Down, he oversaw the opening of the first “Clink” restaurant, and the prison became a centre for innovation, hosting new projects such as the Restore programme run by The Forgiveness Project.

In 2012, Peter left the public sector to join Sodexo Justice Services, and led the operational design and mobilisation of the company’s successful bids to run new community rehabilitation companies in 6 different regions. Peter spent 7 years as a Trustee for the Kenward Trust, a Kent based charity dedicated to the care of people with substance misuse problems, and is Patron of the Michael Varah Memorial Fund, a small grant giving charity. He also acted as an adviser to the Correctional Services of South Africa for a short period in 2003.



Nathan Dick, Head of Policy and Communications, Clinks

As part of the senior management team Nathan supports Clinks to develop both strategically and operationally. He oversees the highly regarded and active policy work of Clinks, and provides leadership to the communications and membership team. Nathan joined Clinks in 2006 and has since supported various parts of the voluntary sector working in criminal justice. Nathan has supported faith based organisations working with offenders, worked alongside the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) campaign calling for a different approach to young adults, supported the Race for Justice campaign and the Young Review which tackle discrimination in the Criminal Justice System, has run campaigns to increase through the gate mentoring services, and managed the Arts Alliance which advocates for creative arts in our criminal justice and community safety. Nathan also led Clinks’ Local Development Team, supporting and listening to the voluntary sector in London, South West, North East, Wales and Greater Manchester.



Matt Spencer, General Manager Public Security Business, 3M 

Matt Spencer has been General Manager of the 3M Public Security Business for 8 years working on security focussed national contracts for the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Office for National statistics and the National Health Service for secure printing including passports, visas and prescription forms, biometric systems for UK policing using mobile biometric identification systems, border control systems and latterly electronic monitoring.   He has led the implementation and management of many complex and sensitive government contracts most recently the introduction of the Ministry of Justice Pilot to test GPS monitoring.




Christine Kelly, Assistant Head of Health and Justice Commissioning, NHS England

Chris photoChris Kelly is Assistant Head of Health and Justice for NHS England National Team, a post she has held since 1st April 2013.

Chris had a long career in the National Probation Service serving in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire (1988-2004) moving from a management position in Nottinghamshire Probation Area in 2004 to commission the Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) on behalf of Nottinghamshire Drug and Alcohol Action Team.

Whilst with this team, Chris worked with the Home Office to support the strategic development of this programme and led a nationally acclaimed programme in this area for Nottinghamshire.

During her tenure with Nottinghamshire Chris also worked with the University of Central Lancashire in the Centre for Ethnicity and Health leading on a short programme of work sponsored by the Home Office. This was to develop BME access to DIP services by training and supporting service users from BME communities to manage their own research and develop services fit for purpose across the country for those in the community and in custody.

She was also part of the working group run by the Home office on developing the Around Arrest Beyond Release suite of documents, offering national guidance for the delivery of engaging family and carers in supporting recovery, and was at the forefront of developing the recovery capitol agenda in respect of managing substance dependants to be better supported in their recovery.

Chris became the manager of the DAAT in Nottinghamshire and then in 2009 moved to a Deputy Director position in CRI, a provider organisation delivering substance misuse services in both community and custodial settings.
In 2011 Chris led the Drug and Alcohol Action Team in Worcestershire and left there when she took up her position with NHS England.

Recently Chris completed a 6 month secondment to support the direct commissioning of community substance misuse services for Northumberland working for Northumberland County Council in the Public Health directorate.




Jessica Stubbs, Researcher, Centre for Mental Health

Jessica Stubbs is a researcher at the Centre for Mental Health and has primarily been involved in exploring issues that affect the mental health and wellbeing of people in the Criminal Justice System. Over the past three and a half years, she has been evaluating the INTEGRATE model, an innovative psychological approach of working with young people affected by serious youth violence in the community. She has developed a peer-led research programme, supporting young people to conduct research on their experiences of the justice system. Jessica has also done research in prisons exploring what contributes to poor mental health and risk of suicide as well as conducting a mental health needs analysis in Immigration Removal Centres. She is currently studying Psychology and has a Masters in Evidence Based Social Intervention and a degree in Social Policy. Previously, she worked as a youth worker at Ebony Horse Club in Brixton.




Professor Sheila Bird OBE FRSE, Programme Leader in Biostatistics Research at the MRC Biostatistics Unit (BSU)

Programme Leader in Biostatistics Research at the MRC Biostatistics Unit (BSU), Professor Sheila Bird OBE FRSE, has spent the past 35 years applying her statistical skills to a range of areas that have direct public health policy implications, from transplantation to prisoners’ mortality. As she retires from the MRC, she tells us about some of her research highlights, why she chose a career in biostatistics and provides words of wisdom for future biostatisticians.

Career in brief 

  • Part-time PhD while lecturer in statistics at Aberdeen University
  • Joined the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge in 1980
  • Made an MRC programme leader in 1996
  • Made an OBE in 2011


John Illingsworth, Director of North West Prisons, Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS) (formerly known as NOMS)

John Illingsworth has worked in prisons since 1984 with a 5 year break to pursue Christian ministry before returning in 2009. He has been Governor in charge of four prisons (Lancaster Castle, Garth, Liverpool and Wymott) and has been working in his current post since September 2016.

He aims to inspire others to give of their best and to engender hope for staff, partners, colleagues and prisoners. He is committed to improving safety and security with a clear focus on rehabilitation.

There are well documented pressures, but John sees the reform agenda as a positive opportunity for change.




Kate Fraser, Northern Services Development Manager, Women in Prison & Project Coordinator, Greater Manchester Women Offenders Alliance

Kate Fraser is the Project Coordinator for the Greater Manchester Women’s Support Alliance consisting of seven local charities engaging in a ‘whole system approach’ of support to women involved in the Criminal Justice System across all ten boroughs in Greater Manchester.

Kate also holds the post of Northern Development Manager for Women in Prison, a national charity supporting women affected by the criminal justice system and campaigning for social justice since 1983.

Previously at Nacro, Kate managed Supported Housing Projects for offenders and substance misusers and developed and mobilised several innovative projects including a Floating Support Scheme for Young People aged 18-24 in Stockport and Prolific Offenders in Manchester. Kate was also responsible for the set up and management of the National Treatment Agency’s T4 Project in Barnsley.

In addition, Kate has personal experience of the criminal justice system.


Rod Clark, Chief Executive, Prisoners’ Education Trust
clark4Rod Clark joined Prisoners Education Trust in February 2013. He came from an extensive career in social policy in the Civil Service. Much of his early career was in the field of Social Security including work on policy, strategy, planning, operational management and a spell as Principal Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP as Secretary of State for Social Security. He was on the Board of the Department for Constitutional Affairs as Director General Strategy when the National Offender Management Service merged to create the Ministry of Justice. He was also Chief Executive of the Civil Service’s internal training organisation, the National School of Government. Rod was pleased to have been a member of the expert panel for Dame Sally Coates review of prison education commissioned by the Justice Secretary. He is also a member of the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory panel.




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Want to pay by invoice? If you select your tickets and click on the green Register button. Once you’re through to the registration page, you can switch payment method from Credit/ Debit Card to Pay by Invoice– if you get stuck please call us on 0161 376 9007 and we will be happy to help.

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(0161) 376 9007


The Bridgewater Hall
Lower Mosley Street
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0161 907 9000