Financial Punishment

10th February 2023 – online

Join us for an online event to raise awareness and coordinate action on the unjust financial punishment of particular groups, including migrants, sex workers and families affected by imprisonment. We’ll discuss all forms of financial punishment, including fines, benefit sanctions, the financial burden of having a loved one in prison and being left without recourse to public funds.

We’ll start with short presentations by:

  • Amy on the impact of fines on women
  • Briege and Lynn on the cost of prison to families
  • Nathalia from National Ugly Mugs on the experiences of sex workers

The second hour will be dedicated to group discussion and the identification of possible action(s).

Please sign up on Eventbrite for the Zoom details:

Alternative Approaches to Harm

20th January 2023

Join us for a sharing circle about alternative approaches to harm – sign up here

The meeting is open to individuals or organizations, community organizers, caregivers, activists, researchers and basically anyone who is interested in building collective awareness about the way we relate to each other.

Our June meeting highlighted the pain that is inflicted by the current system of dealing with harms and showed the promise of, as well as obstacles to, alternatives to punishment, like transformative justice. There is a clear need for our communities to come together and have the opportunity to think about punishment and alternatives to it.

To start off the sharing circle, we will start with a short introduction to transformative justice, followed by a presentation of the book Abolition Science Fiction, edited by Phil Crockett Thomas. The book came out of a research project called Prison Break, which centered on creative writing workshops with activists and scholars involved in prison abolition and transformative justice, using science fiction to imagine alternative approaches to harm and more just futures.

Most of our time will be dedicated to group discussion, during which we will try to draw a map of words that can connect our experiences and generate critical and radical thoughts.

The meeting will be facilitated, this means that we will hold space for all the feelings and thoughts in the room while being aware of the systems of powers in place.

Facilitated by Giusi Palomba, writer and practitioner of transformative justice.

The space has level access from Ross Street, and we have an accessible toilet adjacent, but let us know if anyone has additional access requirements or requires further information. There is cash-only paid parking opposite the site, or free parking spaces on adjacent streets. If anyone is cycling they are welcome to bring their bike indoors. Coffee, (herbal) tea and snacks will be available.

Beyond Punishment Panel Discussion

22nd June 2022

Our focus was on Transformative Justice and we were very fortunate to have a good turn out, from a range of different groups and with a variety of experiences.  The intention was to instigate discussion about the wider implications of alternative approaches to criminal justice.

We had 3 speakers to start off the discussion. Our first contributor, Guisi shared the messiness of transformative justice and its ongoing journey. Her reflection on working with groups in Spain touched on the importance of navigating emotions together and led us to think about our own place in community justice and support systems; challenging our assumptions and focus on the agency of those harmed. One point that struck deep is “no one can understand the harm they have done without support”.

We were very lucky to have Michelle Brown over from Tenessee and her input drew on her work with different groups around abolitionist and transformative practices. She urged us to think seriously about relational work and the potentialities of people and ideas coming together. Calling for more work to be done on the study of liberation, and urging us to think about “what happens when we build infrastructures of support and move away from the punitive as the solution”,

Kevin Neary joined us from Aid and Abet, giving an insight into the revolving door of prison for young people in Scotland, who are “being punished before being punished by the state”. His work offers a lifeline for young people and he talked about how young people can create their own environment of support by addressing trauma and pain and building relations of trust. It all starts with a simple question: “what do you need to feel and be supported”?

These specific inputs were brief and most of the afternoon involved participation in wider conversations from those attending. It was a though-provoking and emotional event, and really highlighted the need for further collaboration around the concept of transformative justice.

We’re hoping to take this discussion forward in future meetings and events, so if you are interested, please sign up to our mailing list and we’ll keep you posted.

Organising Against Punishment Event

25th March 2022

We brought together a panel of inspiring people to discuss how best to shift the current focus on punishment both within and outwith the criminal legal system.

Margaret Malloch gave a short introduction about CAP, followed by talks by Gehan McLeod from GalGael, the Govan Free State and ENOUGH! and critical criminologist, campaigner and abolitionist Michelle Brown. You can follow them on on twitter @gehan_macleod @ProfMBrown.

Afterwards, there was discussion on how best to move forward. We will be working with GalGael to put together materials inviting second thoughts on the justice system for people to share in local communities. Other ideas are always more than welcome.

Remand meeting

May 2021

In this meeting we focused on the problem of remand in Scotland, which was introduced by Fiona (CYCJ) and Tracy (Partners in Advocacy).

Solidarity with people in Barlinnie during the pandemic meeting

February 2021

In this meeting we highlighted the issues faced by people in prisons generally, but particularly in Barlinnie, during the pandemic. We were building on a conversation with prison management in Barlinnie, who had proved open to help from the outside to alleviate the long times served in cell. The session was introduced by Dave from the Prisoner Solidarity Network.

‘Not Reform’: Stimulating radical thinking and action on the penal practices of Scotland

October 2020

This online symposium brought together activists, academics, people affected by or working in the criminal justice system and community organisations to be involved in new thinking, discussions and actions.

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