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What’s good about our prisons?

February 26, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Department of Psychology Lecture

In the 242 years since John Howard’s pioneering publication entitled ‘The State of the prisons in England and Wales’ was published in 1777, remarkably few people have set out to visit every prison in the estate – and, as far as we know, only Simon Shepherd has done so with the idea of asking prisoners, staff, and managers, a simple question that goes against the prevailing negative narrative: “What’s the good stuff that’s happening in this prison?”

Simon’s overall findings are broken down into 23 themes and highlight dozens of examples of ‘good practice worth sharing’. Simon will talk about his findings, sharing his experiences from discussions held in each of the 102 prisons he visited, commenting on work happening in education, training and rehabilitation and the impact of peer support in areas from self-harm to learning difficulties and palliative care.

This talk will be followed by a drinks reception.

“It’s difficult to think of a single area of prison life where I didn’t come across examples of not just good but superb practice. Again and again, prisoners and staff highlighted and praised work happening in education, training and rehabilitation.”

NOTE: this talk explores prison culture and some content/language might be considered offensive/disturbing by some people

About the speaker

Simon Shepherd

Simon Shepherd has been Director of the Butler Trust since 2008.  The Butler Trust is a registered charity which aims to identify, celebrate and promote good practice of those working in correctional settings across the UK.  A primary aim of the charity is their award scheme, which helps to develop and disseminate their work and publicise the achievements of award winners and promote good practice more widely.  An awards ceremony is held each year, hosted by the charity’s chief Patron, the Princess Royal. Simon has wide-ranging experience of correctional and addictions organisations, previously holding Chief Executive and Senior Manager roles in both the not-for-profit and public sectors.


February 26, 2020
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


University of York Open Lecture Series
01904 324778
View Organiser Website


PS/B/020, Psychology Building
University of York, Heslington
York, YO10 5DD United Kingdom
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