About the Film

Two decades of politicians playing the law and order ‘arms race’ have brought a criminal justice crisis to the UK.

Especially when it comes to our young - where we're ultimately creating more of the very thing we fear... criminals.

Despite an all-time high for re-offending rates, despite prisons at bursting point - we plan to keep on building and continue to incarcerate more young people than any other country in Western Europe.

The public's fear of youth crime bears little relation to reality and the young are more demonised, more alienated and more easily caught in a self-fulfilling prophesy of our own making...

The Fear Factory

A place where...


Juliet Lyon (Prison Reform Trust)

“I think we have constructed a fear factory. We've confused things, we've reduced crime, but ridiculously not reduced the fear of crime. We haven't capitalised on our success and instead of which we're fuelling the fear. We're just paying more, building more, keeping it all going, keeping it all rolling... and most politicians know that.”

Chris Roycroft-Davis
(Ex Leader writer and Deputy Editor of The Sun)

“a lot of politicians will say anything and do anything just to hang on to power or just to maintain their popularity.”

Maria Eagle (Minister of Prisons)

“It's difficult in my job not to be aware of what's happening in the media and what is of importance to them because to a degree of course we respond to it.”

David Howarth (Lib Dem Spokeperson for Justice)

“From a media point of view reporting a single crime is far more striking, sells more newspapers, gets more viewers than reporting dry figures about falling crime rates... That's one of the great puzzles of modern politics... the reason that the public thinks that crime is still rising even when all the most reliable figures show... crime, it's falling.”

Dominic Grieve (Shadow Sec of State for Justice)

“The evidence is I think overwhelming - the best programmes for breaking the conveyer belt to crime come from within the charitable sector and from time to time, I as an MP, go and visit some which I think are absolutely superb”

Joyce Moseley (Catch 22)

“I'm not sure I have seen any real debate and real understanding in the press that a different tack is needed. I think the 'lock them up and throw away the key' is still the predominate view, however much it has failed.”

Martin Narey (Barnardo's)

“I was a very young prison governor in the dying days of Borstal. I remember a very important man in the prison service coming to the Borstal I worked and talking with some horror about a prison population which was about to breach 40,000. We're now looking at a prison population which is about to breach 90,000”

Professor Rod Morgan (ex Head of YJB)

“It costs around £200,000 a year per place to keep a young offender in a local authority secure home. It costs approximately £50,000 - £60,000 just the straight management costs and they're not a true reflection of the total costs to keep a young offender in a young offenders institution. So we're talking about a hugely expensive system... Building more young offender institutions, expanding the number of kids in custody is the equivalent of building coal fired power stations”

Cherie Blair (English Commission on Prison for Howard League for Reform)

“The figures speak for themselves don't they? We've some 84,000 prisoners, prison population growing, the cost of [keeping] people in prison rising and yet we have a 70% re-offending rate”

Erwin James (Guardian columnist)

“When I was in prison for life after being convicted of murder I was given my previous conviction sheet and I looked at my earliest conviction when I was 10 years old and there was nothing else until I was 16... all that time I'd thought of myself as a criminal and I hadn't been a criminal; I'd just been a kid who'd done a stupid thing”

Paul Cavadino (NACRO)

“In the run up to a general election it seems as unlikely as ever that politicians will abandon their competitive tough rhetoric and do what's necessary, namely go out and explain to the public why less punitive measures and more constructive measures would be the best way of protecting them.”

All of the preceding quotes are from “The Fear Factory”, please feel free to use them but we politely ask you credit the film and where appropriate, link to this site.

Why did we make this film? Read this blog post