Prisoners to debate privacy in the digital age at the grand final of the UK’s toughest debating competition

  • 02 Oct 2017 08:30

Two teams of prisoners have made it to the grand final of the UK’s toughest debating competition at HM Prison Birmingham. To decide the winner, a panel of star-judges will hear arguments for and against the expectation of privacy in a digital age

Debating matters beyond bars

The grand final of the UK’s toughest debating competition, Debating Matters, will see two teams from G4S-managed HM Prison Birmingham debate the motion “In the digital age we should not expect our online activities to remain private”.

Judging the debate will be a panel of star-judges:

Debating Matters was created by the Institute of Ideas to encourage a different kind of debating in schools that focused on ideas rather than public speaking ability. In support of the prison reform agenda, the first ever prisoner versus prisoner debating competition, Debating Matters Beyond Bars, was launched last year at HM Prison Birmingham.

The grand final will take place in the prison chapel on Monday 02 October, with four prisoners tackling the issue that we cannot expect our online activities to remain private in the digital age. 

Debating Matters

The grand final will also include a Question Time panel, giving prisoners and staff at Birmingham the opportunity to grill a panel of experts on a wide range of subjects including issues surrounding criminal justice.

On this year’s Question Time panel:

Director at HM Prison Birmingham, Richard Stedman, said:

“It is a real privilege to deliver Debating Matters Beyond Bars, which has made a huge impact on the prisoners involved in a very short space of time.

“This programme, in partnership with the Institute of Ideas, reminds us all of the importance of connecting with the outside world and the effect this can have when it comes to rehabilitating prisoners.

“Both teams have worked incredibly hard to make it to the final and they should be very proud of what they have achieved. The entire prison is looking forward to what promises to be a tough debate.”

Debating trainer for the Institute of Ideas, Adam Rawcliffe, said:

“Debating Matters Beyond Bars challenges the notion that prisoners aren’t willing or able to research and argue about the ethical rights and wrongs of the big issues facing society, using reasoned, well-evidenced argument and we hope it will be an important addition to Birmingham’s educational work.

“This project is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate that debate can flourish in unexpected places and that no idea should be beyond critical discussion or contest and we are thrilled that Birmingham’s prisoners and staff are up for this challenge.”