Contemporary Issues in Sentencing Seminar: Cardiff University / Prifysgol Caerdydd

The Sentencing Academy were delighted to join forces with the Centre for Law, Crime and Justice at Cardiff University / Prifysgol Caerdydd to hold a ‘Contemporary Issues in Sentencing’ seminar on 18 October 2023. In keeping with the theme of the series, there were three papers on topical issues in sentencing followed by lively audience discussion chaired by Dr Fred Cram, Director of the Cardiff Centre for Crime, Law and Justice.

Dr Jenni Ward, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Middlesex University, spoke on ‘Sentencing Young Adults: Taking Account of Maturation and Life-Course Transitions’. Jenni made the case for treating ‘young adults’ as a distinct group in the criminal justice system drawing on insights from developmental psychology. After reviewing international practice, she argued for specialist young adult courts which would be better placed to intervene effectively. Jenni was followed by the Sentencing Academy’s Head of Policy and Communications, Gavin Dingwall, who presented on ‘The Future of Parole’. Gavin’s paper drew on a recent paper ‘Parole in England and Wales: Recent Reforms and Proposals for the Future’ published by the Academy (available here). Three specific points were raised for discussion: the burden of proving whether a prisoner’s risk can be managed safely in the community; victim involvement in the parole process; and the circumstances when a decision should be amenable to challenge. Dr Gary Betts, Head of Coventry Law School, delivered the final paper on ‘Sentencing Corporations’. Gary posed some challenging theoretical and policy questions about what society seeks to achieve when it sanctions delinquent corporations.

After the event, Gavin Dingwall, Head of Policy and Communications, commented: “The Sentencing Academy was delighted to collaborate with colleagues at Cardiff University / Prifysgol Caerdydd in holding this seminar. The papers and discussion demonstrate once again the vitality of sentencing scholarship and the interest that sentencing generates. We want to thank Dr Fred Cram and his colleagues in the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice for hosting the event and very much hope that we will work together again.”

Dr Fred Cram, Director of the Cardiff Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, said: “Both the Centre and the School of Law and Politics were thrilled to host this Sentencing Academy event. The event was well attended, and its informal and conversational format was clearly appreciated by all attendees who were very engaged in what was an enjoyable and lively debate about important issues. The Centre and the School have an important commitment to supporting our thriving student and academic community, and we look forward to working with the Sentencing Academy in the future.”