Reforming narratives: Is there life after punishment?

Professor Fergus McNeill discusses his recent public lecture on ‘Reforming Narratives’, originally posted on ‘Discovering Desistance’ blog:

Recently, I was invited to give a public lecture for the Sutherland Trust, a Scottish charity that exists to promote and debate psychodynamic ideas and their usefulness in health,  social care and education.

My title was the one above — and I had a little help in the lecture from my friends in Vox Liminis — another Scottish charity, recently created to bring creative practices to the criminal justice system. In the lecture, Louis Abbot (of the excellent band Admiral Fallow) performed two hauntingly beautiful songs which served to illustrate aspects of the talk. The first song, ‘Breathe life’, was written by Louis with a person in prison, and the second, ‘What if my best isn’t good enough?’, was written by another excellent musician —Andrew Howie — with a person quite recently released from prison.

That second song was one of five commissioned by Vox to explore a fictionalised crime, punishment and reintegration scenario, and was used to great effect in a recent public event to stimulate a sort of deliberative dialogue about those issues. Those five songs and a little information about that process can be found at this link: Distant Voices. There is even a CD you can buy for a small donation: The perfect Christmas gift!

The Sutherland Trust lecture can be listened to on IRISS FM here: Reforming Narratives

The accompanying slides can be downloaded here: McNeill (Sutherland Pics) 281014