About John Howard
John Howard is widely considered to be the first penal reformer. He lived in the eighteenth century and his life inspired admirers to establish the Howard League for Penal Reform in 1866.
Born in Hackney, East London.
Apprenticed to grocers and sugar merchants, near St Paul’s.
Sets off for Lisbon, captured by privateers and imprisoned in France, released later that year.
Appointed High Sheriff of Bedfordshire. Makes first tour of English prisons.
Addresses committee of the House of Commons on state of prisons.
Howard publishes The State of the Prisons.
Penitentiary Houses Act. Howard appointed as one of three superintendents to choose sites and design and build new gaols.
Resigns post and continues to tour foreign prisons.
Falls ill from fever and dies in Kherson, Ukraine.Read more about John Howard →