On 4 June 2020, Professor Dirk van Zyl Smit gave the ‘Roger Hood’ Lecture at the University of Oxford.
Titled ‘The People Strike Back? Life imprisonment and other ultimate penalties in a constitutional democracy’ the lecture looked into the fight of penal reformers to make ultimate penalties more humane. Penal reformers ‘sought, with some success, not only to abolish the death penalty but also to limit the imposition of life sentences and to ensure that those serving life imprisonment have realistic prospects of release’.
Dirk van Zyl Smit is Professor of Comparative and International Penal Law at the University of Nottingham. He is also chairperson of Penal Reform International.