International Centre for Prison Studies to merge with Institute for Criminal Policy Research

31 Oct 2014

As of November 2014, the International Centre for Prison Studies is joining forces with the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), based in the School of Law of Birkbeck, University of London.

ICPR and the School of Law will provide a setting within which the work of the International Centre for Prison Studies can be effectively and vigorously pursued. This work includes the development of the internationally renowned World Prison Brief database on prison populations around the world. The Centre has developed a vast body of knowledge, based on international covenants and instruments, about the principles on which the use of imprisonment should be based. It has also sought to ensure that this body of knowledge is used as the foundation of policy on prison issues and for the promotion of practice which is just, decent, humane and fully compliant with human rights standards.

ICPR and the International Centre for Prison Studies share a commitment to the study of criminal justice and to improving policy and practice through research and public education. The merger between the two organisations thus provides an opportunity for the core endeavours and activities of both to be strengthened and sustained, and for ICPR to continue to grow as a dynamic centre of criminology within Birkbeck.

Professor Andrew Coyle, Founding Director and Trustee of the International Centre for Prison Studies, commented:

"ICPS is delighted that this merger with the Institute for Criminal Policy Research has been agreed. It presents an exciting opportunity to combine the expertise of the two institutions in a way which will provide an even stronger foundation for the work which each has been doing until now. The work of ICPR in enhancing academic knowledge and public debate about crime and criminal justice policy and that of ICPS in undertaking research into all aspects of the use and practice of imprisonment in the UK and elsewhere fit well with each other. It is important that government policies in the UK and other countries on criminal justice in general and imprisonment in particular should be based on sound evidence. This is what we will aim to provide."

Dr Jessica Jacobson, Co-Director of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, said:

"This merger provides an outstanding opportunity for ICPR to build on and further develop the research, dissemination and consultancy activities in which the International Centre for Prison Studies has been engaged since it was founded in 1997. We look forward to continuing the work of the award-winning World Prison Brief and to working with prison researchers, policy-makers, practitioners and others to build knowledge and understanding of imprisonment, its purpose, and how it should be used."

For further information, contact:

Jessica Jacobson:; 07720 781665


Frank Warburton:; 07505 005891