Woodbrooke is delighted to announce that Ben Jarman will give the 2024 Swarthmore Lecture. Ben’s lecture will focus on imprisonment and punishment, exploring what Quakers distinctively have to say today about these topics.
Ben is a member of London West Area Quaker Meeting. He has worked in and around prisons and the penal system for nearly 15 years, in a range of roles. He was first drawn to the field while working for the Quaker Council for European Affairs in Brussels. He went on to work for Clinks, a membership organisation which supports the involvement of the wider voluntary sector in criminal justice. Ben also managed the prison volunteering programme of Fine Cell Work, a social enterprise training prisoners in skilled, paid, textile arts.
Ben has also conducted academic research in prisons and volunteered in prison education programmes. His PhD research, which was jointly supported by UK Research and Innovation and a Quakers in Britain Adult Education grant, focused on the experiences of men serving life sentences for murder in English prisons. Ben now works in the World Prisons Research Programme at the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (Birkbeck, University of London). His current project examines work and employment during and after imprisonment, in three countries.
Clerk of the Swarthmore Lecture Committee, Sarah Donaldson, said this about the lecture:
“Ben’s rich professional and personal experience place him in a unique position to share his ministry on this complex area. The committee believes that Ben can help the yearly meeting tap into the many voices of those with lived experience of the criminal justice system. We hope that through the lecture Friends will be encouraged to reflect on criminal justice, punishment, rehabilitation and to explore the broader and longer flow of Quaker witness on this subject.”
Ben aims in his lecture to explore the messy middle ground between seemingly rigid positions on how society responds to crime: escalating demands for more severe punishment; claims that a reformed system can rehabilitate; or calls to envision a future in which prisons and punishment no longer exist.
Ben will give his talk as part of Britain Yearly Meeting 2024 which will be held from 26 to 30 July. The lecture will be live streamed on the Woodbrooke YouTube Channel. Information about Yearly Meeting 2024 will be available on the Quakers in Britain website in due course https://quaker.org.uk/ym
- The Swarthmore Lecture is funded and organised by Woodbrooke, an international Quaker learning and research organisation. You can find out more here at woodbrooke.org.uk/swarthmore
- Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research: https://www.icpr.org.uk/
- Quaker Council for European Affairs: https://www.qcea.org/
- Clinks: https://www.clinks.org/