‘Desistance – giving up crime – requires structures, cultures and kind, supportive people who first make it seem conceivable and then work to make it possible’ according to Nellis and McNeill in Allan Weavers autobiography So You Think You Know Me?
Past and present service users joined the staff and board for the second conference hosted by the Cork Alliance Centre ‘Narrowing the Disconnect – the Ethics of Supporting Desistance from Crime’. Over 250 guests attended the two day conference which was held in September 2016. It followed on from our highly successful 2013 conference ‘The Journey of Desistance’.
The Cork Alliance Centre was honoured that President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins made the conference keynote address. Central to the conference was the lived experience of past and present Cork Alliance Centre service users. Together with the premier showing of a new documentary made with our service users, five people who have accessed the Cork Alliance Centre services presented at the conference. We were delighted that these experiences were shared at the conference. Our international speakers namely, Dr Deirdre Healy, Professor Shadd Maruna, Professor Joanna Shapland completed the programme and all strongly valued the opportunity to present alongside our past and present service users. Also joining the Cork Alliance Centre, to present at the conference were Vivian Geiran of the Probation Service and Michael Donnellan of the Irish Prison Service. The opening address was made by David Stanton, TD Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality