School of Law | About us | Events in the School of Law OLD | Law on Trial 2015 | Tuesday 16 June - Barring Access: Criminal Convictions, Risk Management and Higher Education
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Tuesday 16 June 6pm: Barring Access: Criminal Convictions, Risk Management and Higher Education

Are universities becoming overly concerned with ‘risk management’ and ‘securitisation’ policies – and at what social, political and ethical cost?

All prospective university students are currently required to disclose if they have a ‘relevant criminal conviction’ when applying for full-time study in Britain. Many universities, including Birkbeck, are also asking students to disclose this information for part-time study, annual re-enrolment and other purposes. But why is this information being collected, how is it being used and for what purposes?  Do these practices actually make campuses safer? Who benefits from risk management policies on campus and who does not?

This panel considered these questions, alongside a broader discussion about the implications of risk management politics on fundamental purpose, aims and ethos of higher education. Speakers considered the impact of ‘security screening’ practises on equality and diversity in higher education, the ‘widening participation agenda’ and the more fundamental question of: who gets access to university and who does not -- and on what terms?


Organiser: Dr Sarah Lamble (@slamble1).

Speakers included:

Christopher Stacey is the Director of Services for Unlock (a charity which provides information, advice, training and advocacy, dealing with the ongoing effects of criminal convictions). He is one of the country’s foremost experts on the criminal record disclosure system and in understanding and challenging the long-term effects associated with having a criminal record.

Wail Qasim (@WailQ) is a freelance writer, Birkbeck student and an organiser with Defend the Right to Protest, which campaigns against police brutality, kettling and the use of violence against those who have a right to protest. Defend the Right to Protest also supports protesters who have been arrested, bailed or charged and are fighting to clear their names.

Patrick Williams is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the Manchester Metropolitan University.  His current research is concerned with ‘processes of criminalisation’ and the debilitating effects of criminal justice processes and practice upon marginalised groups and communities.  In particular, his work challenges the durability of differential treatment and racialised disproportionality within the criminal justice system for Black, Asian and Minority ethnic (BAME) people and communities.

Sarah Lamble is Senior Lecturer and Assistant Dean for Criminology in the School of Law at Birkbeck. Sarah’s research interests focus on cultures of punishment, alternatives to imprisonment and issues of gender and sexuality in the criminal justice system.

Gail Lewis is a Reader in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck and a qualified psychodynamic psychotherapist. Gail’s research centres on the constitution of subjectivity as racialised and gendered, psychoanalysis, black feminism, experience as a site of knowing and knowledge production, social policy and welfare practice, psychodynamics of organisational process, multiculture and formations of national belonging.

Sacha Darke is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Westminster and coordinator of the mentoring scheme with the British Convict Criminology Group, which supports prisoners and ex-prisoners in establishing themselves as academics in then field of criminology and related disciplines.