Does prison work? Lessons from the American experience


  • Nick Herbert MP
  • Dr David Skarbek

Date: Monday 3 March 2014

Time: 06:30pm - 08:30pm


Location: Adam Smith Institute


Is the UK's penal system working? What can we learn from the US and economic research to make prisons more effective at preventing reducing crime both inside and outside prison? Nick Herbert MP and Dr David Skarbek discuss their research and recommendations for policy-makers.

Nick Herbert is Conservative Party MP for Arundel and South Downs, and served as Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice between 2010 and 2012. During this time Nick championed the creation of elected Police and Crime Commissioners and spearheaded the Conservative 'rehabilitation revolution', where tough sentencing is accompanied by focus on lowering re-offending rates with payments made to agencies based on results. Prior to entering parliament Nick was the Director of the think-tank Reform, which he co-founded in 2002.

Dr David Skarbek is a lecturer in Political Economy at King's College London. His research interest is to understand how people define and enforce property rights in the absence of strong, effective governments. His work has examined incarceration, gangs, and crime in the United States. David is completing a book on The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System, which examines how inmates create self-governance institutions to promote economic and social interactions behind bars.

Please note: Space at this event is limited and attendance is by invitation only. To request a place, please email

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