Prison Abolition in the UK: They Dare Not Speak Its Name?

Mick Ryan, Tony Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses the history, achievements, and prospects of the movement for prison or penal abolition in the United Kingdom, and in particular the ideas promoted by RAP (Radical Alternatives to Prison) in the 1970s and 1980s. The authors argue that while RAP patently did not succeed in abolishing prisons, it did contribute to significant changes in the debate over crime and punishment. Moreover, abolitionism (or perhaps more accurately, neo-abolitionism) remains highly relevant to practice (including that of restorative justice) and as a critical theory of criminal justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-119
JournalSocial Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict & World Order
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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