UCL Faculty of Laws


Parole and Recall to Prisons: Decision-making and Transparency

07 March 2018, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Black and white image of a prison cell

Event Information

Open to



UCL Laws


UCL Sir David Davies LT, Roberts Building, Torrington Place, London WC1E 7JE


Dr Jamie Bennett (University of Oxford)
Sir David Calvert-Smith (Former Chairman of the Parole Board)
James Dixon (No 5 Chambers)
Phillippa Kaufmann QC (Matrix Chambers)
- Deborah Russo (Prisoners' Advice Service)


Dr Jonathan Rogers (University College London)

About the event:

Recent media coverage of the cases of John Worboys and Jon Venables have shone light on how decisions are made to release prisoners on licence and to recall them for breach of the licence conditions. We have gathered an expert panel to take questions from the audience on the law, the process and the problems. How are prisoners assessed for possible release, how are suitable licence conditions determined, should the Parole Board be more transparent in explaining its reasons, should there be internal review of its decisions, and what sort of breaches of licence conditions result in recall? To find out all this, and more, and to ask a question of your own, please join us.

About the panellists:

Dr Jamie Bennett 
Dr Bennett is Governor of HMP Grendon & Springhill, and has been editor of Prison Service Journal since 2004. He has published five books including The working lives of prison managers published in 2015, and Handbook on Prisons (second edition, with Yvonne Jewkes and Ben Crewe) in 2016. He is a Research Associate at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford.

Sir David Calvert-Smith
Sir David started his career at the criminal bar in 1969. He was elected Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association in 1998 and served until he was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions between 1998-2003. He was a High Court judge between 2005-2012 with responsibility for the Terrorist case list. He then served between 2012-16 as the Chairman of the Parole Board.

James Dixon
Mr Dixon practices from No 5 Chambers where he specialises in public law with emphasis on prison law, immigration detention, mental health and inquests into deaths in custody. He is a Visiting Lecturer at UCL in the "prison ideology, policy and law" module on the LLM. He was awarded the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award at the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards 2013.

Phillippa Kaufmann QC 
Ms Kaufmann practices from Matrix Chambers and specialises in human rights law with a particular focus on the exercise of the state’s coercive powers against the individual including prisoners’ rights. She is currently acting for two victims of John Worboys in a challenge they are bringing against the Parole Board’s decision to direct his release.

Deborah Russo
Ms Russo is a practicing solicitor and jointly manages the Prisoners' Advice Service. She was responsible for the design and set up a new method of delivering advice to prisoners via a network of legal clinics across England. She continues to oversee their operation, and regularly delivers training to students, solicitors and prisoners in prison and public law. 

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