Welcome to the Translating Penal Cultures project

Translating Penal Cultures aims to create a new and unique interdisciplinary research network of UK-based and overseas scholars working on institutions of confinement, practices of crime control, and penal cultures in a range of countries that include Russia, India, China, Mexico, New Zealand, Scandinavia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

It aims to promote comparative study, interdisciplinarity, and internationalisation. It draws together researchers from the disciplines of language and linguistics, history, cultural studies, law, criminology, sociology, and translation studies who are currently
working on incarcerated populations and institutions of confinement in strategically significant, developing, and established nations.

These scholars are keen to develop a broad intercultural and international dialogue on incarcerated populations and carceral institutions and their cultures with other academic researchers and to establish creative links with non-academic partners. Carceral institutions include prisons, workhouses, jails, reformatories, remand centres, asylum-seeker detention centres, the courts, and police. Penal cultures is also defined in its widest sense to include the role of different groups of custodial and non-custodial staff, inmate political and social organisation, and cultural production for example in the form of tattoos, poetry, music, letters of protest and use of contraband.