Diagrama contributes to book exploring changes needed for a positive ‘Life Beyond Crime’

15 Nov 2017
Life Beyond Crime book cover

Diagrama Foundation has contributed to a new book which gathers the thoughts of individuals in shaping positive criminal justice reform.

Life Beyond Crime brings together a passionate debate, through prose, poems and pictures, assembling first-hand experience and wisdom of more than 60 contributors who have responded to the question: “What do those at risk of offending, prisoners and ex-offenders need to learn?”

Contributors include current and former prisoner artists and poets; criminal justice practitioners; educators and academics; as well writers from the voluntary and arts worlds including theatre director Phyllida Lloyd, lyricist Sir Richard Stilgoe and sculptor Sir Antony Gormley.

David McGuire, chief executive of Diagrama Foundation UK, contributes a chapter looking at how the UK could learn lessons from the management of young offenders in Spain. The book was launched at the Southbank Centre earlier this month, attended by the president of Diagrama, Francisco Legaz Cervantes.

The project is the brainchild of the Monument Fellowship - a legacy to the Monument Trust – which brings together organisations to explore each stage of the journey that an offender experiences in the criminal justice system - from arrest, through prosecution and sentencing in court, in prisons and YOIs and on release.

Fellowship organisations include: Diagrama Foundation; Centre for Justice Innovation; Clinks; Khulisa; Koestler Trust; Lemos&Crane; National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and Restorative Solutions.

The book, priced £15, is available to buy online at the Koestler Trust.

 “This book is a precious gift to justice professionals and those experiencing the justice system: victims and offenders, and their families – and to society as a whole. Its rich collection of positive ways forward to change criminal behaviour challenge the default pessimism in the media and among politicians about the value of doing more than punishing. This is an inspiring and moving practical handbook for change. This book should be compulsory reading for all of us who believe in the capacity of human beings to change if given the right opportunity.” Roger Graef OBE, film maker and criminologist; Visiting Professor, Mannheim Centre for Criminology, London School of Economics

“It is rare to read a hopeful book on prisons today. This is a colourful and glorious festival of short individual contributions, underlining the importance of engaging with others and of sharing our common humanity, despite the many walls which divide us. Everyone should join the conversation: it’s all about recognising the value in every individual and about reaching out to encourage those who struggle”. Nicola Padfield, Professor of Criminal and Penal Justice, University of Cambridge; Master, Fitzwilliam College