British academy

Current Projects

The Policy Centre engages the expertise of senior academics across the humanities and social sciences to comment on and feed into current policy issues.

Our projects are led by working groups of Fellows and other experts.

Crime, Punishment, and the Prison 

In Summer 2014 the Academy will be publishing a report on Crime, Punishment and the Prison. This project has been led by a Steering Group of academic experts: Andrew Ashworth, Roger Cotterrell, Andrew Coyle, Antony Duff (Chair), Brenda Hale, Nicola Lacey, Alison Liebling, Rod Morgan and Paul Rock.

The study on Crime, punishment and the prison was motivated by the fact that, despite the frequent claims, coming from very different political perspectives, that we should radically reduce our reliance on imprisonment, we seem to be unable to do this; and by the hope that the British Academy could make a distinctive contribution to the ongoing debate about why and how we should try to reduce both the number of people we imprison, and the length of time for which many are imprisoned.

The report is split into three parts:

Part 1 – Where We Are Now

Analyses changes in the use and practice of imprisonment in the UK over the last twenty years that has led us to the where we are now and provides an overview of the current situation.

Part 2 – Why We Shouldn’t Want to be Here

Discusses some of the reasons why we should, as a matter of urgency, try to move towards a lower use of, and reliance on, imprisonment in our formal response to criminal offending.

Part 3 – What now?

Examines possible strategies to reduce our reliance on imprisonment including:

  1. Greater Use of Diversion
  2. Promoting Greater Use of Alternative Forms of Sentence
  3. Prohibiting the Imposition of Short Custodial Sentences
  4. Removing the Sanction of Imprisonment from Certain Offences
  5. Reviewing Sentence Lengths in England and Wales
  6. Reviewing the Continued Imprisonment of Prisoners serving Indeterminate Sentences
  7. Curtailing the Use of Imprisonment for Breach of Orders
  8. Removing Mentally Disordered and Addicted Persons from Prisons 

Managing maritime heritage in international waters (with the Honor Frost Foundation)

In January 2013 the British Academy and the Honor Frost Foundation held an event to enable policymakers and academics to discuss current and potential UK government policy on the protection of underwater heritage in international waters.

The two organisations have recently established a small steering group to consider the key points that came out of that discussion and a future programme of work on underwater heritage from the British Academy Policy Centre and Honor Frost Foundation.

The steering group members are: 

  • Sir Barry Cunliffe CBE FBA (Chair), Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology, University of Oxford
  • Dr John Curtis OBE FBA, Chair of the Honor Frost Foundation
  • Professor Sarah Dromgoole, Professor of Maritime Law, University of Nottingham 
  • Joan Porter MacIver, Executive Director, Honor Frost Foundation
  • Jane Maddocks, Underwater Heritage Advisor, British Sub Aqua Club
  • Dr Adrian Olivier, Honorary Professor, Institute of Archaeology, UCL
  • Peter Wolrich, Partner, International Arbitration Group, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP
  • Robert Yorke, Chair of the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee