Last week, I had the huge privilege of delivering the 2022 Howard League Lecture in honour of Lord Parmoor. You can watch a video of the lecture here and/or read the transcript below. The lecture was titled “‘Son of a convict’ – law, human rights and the politics of punishment”. —– It is a huge […]
For the past three years, the Howard League for Penal Reform has been campaigning against archaic legislation which allows courts to send acutely unwell people to prison as a ‘place of safety’ or for their ‘own protection’. Last week, the government published a Draft Mental Health Bill which would finally remove this option.
Last week, the Criminal Justice Joint Inspectorate (CJJI) published a progress report on the impact of Covid-19 on the criminal justice system. It describes a system where fatigued staff are struggling to deliver adequate services, and no agency – least of all prisons – is back to ‘business as usual’. This bleak description will be familiar to anyone who has followed the Howard League’s blogposts about life in prison during the pandemic.
Earlier this year, we invited Howard League members in prison – and members with a loved one in prison – to share their experiences of imprisonment during the pandemic. In April, we built on this by asking young people on our advice line what the past two years had been like for them.
This is the third blogpost in a series on Howard League members’ experiences in prison during the pandemic. It focuses on what members told us about the importance of visits, the impact of no longer seeing family members and friends, and how much harder they have found visits with restrictions.
In survey responses gathered in February and March 2022, Howard League members who are in prison or have family members in prison told us about their experiences during the pandemic. They also told us what, in their view, the public needs to know.
This week the Ministry of Justice published a long-awaited review of custodial remand for children. This important document responds to concerns raised by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Justice Committee, and echoed by many others including the Howard League, about the ever-increasing proportion of children on remand in prison.
Today, the report stage of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in the House of Lords comes to an end. The amended bill will now go to a third reading in the House of Lords, followed by a “ping pong” stage where both Houses of Parliament must agree on the wording of the Bill.
As we come to the end of another challenging year, I would like to thank all Howard League members for your support in 2021.
Christmas is a difficult period for many, and particularly so for people in prison and their families. The calls this week to our legal advice line, from children and young adults, are a stark reminder of how life inside is very different from life outside at this time of year.