New research reveals devastating impact of pandemic on prisoners

18 May 2021

The prisons research team at the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (ICPR) at Birkbeck, University of London has published new research on measures taken to control the risk of COVID-19 in prisons, and their impact on prisoners’ health and wellbeing. The research covers a diverse group of countries across five continents and includes first-hand accounts of how life in custody changed from March 2020.

Catherine Heard on the Justice Focus podcast

30 Sep 2020

Catherine Heard, Director of ICPR's World Prison Research Programme, has spoken to Omar Phoenix Khan for his Justice Focus podcast.

Catherine discusses real world use of comparative criminology and our project "Understanding and reducing the use of imprisonment in ten countries."

You can listen to the podcast here:

Apple Podcasts:


The World Prison Brief is 20! Roy Walmsley, its Founder and Director, reflects on the journey so far, in conversation with Catherine Heard.

28 Sep 2020

Since its launch in September 2000, the World Prison Brief (hosted and published by the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research, at Birkbeck) has become a gem of a resource – a completely unique database, giving open access to a wealth of information on prison systems worldwide. It now provides data on almost every country in the world. With a website visited over a million times a year and data relied on by policy makers, journalists, researchers, international agencies, NGOs and activists across the world, the Brief has gone from strength to strength.