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About us

We are the world’s oldest prison charity, with a long history of bringing people together to advocate for penal reform.

The Howard League for Penal Reform is a national charity (registered charity No. 251926) working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.

We are a membership organisation, named after the great 18th-century prison reformer, John Howard.

We combine litigation, campaigning and policy work. Our staff include a team of expert prison and public lawyers, working alongside experienced communications and policy staff.

We work with the media to explain the harms of prison and to shape public narratives around crime and punishment.

We have the country’s only dedicated advice line for children and young people in prison, providing support and advice and building their experiences into our broader work.

We have consultative status with the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council and in our work have a keen eye on international law and comparative experience, using it to strengthen domestic approaches.

We want to use our distinctive strengths to collaborate effectively with partners, coalitions and others in the sector, and we are particularly keen to share our advantages (as a national campaigning organisation) with grassroots organisations.

We believe in, and want to actively invest in, supporting a powerful penal reform sector, of which we are just one part.

We are entirely independent of government and funded by voluntary donations and membership subscriptions.

Annual reports

ReportReport and financial statements

Report ◊ Report and financial statements

Report ◊ Report and financial statements

Report Report and financial statements

Report Report and financial statements

Five-year strategies




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