Skip Content


An advisory panel of experts who guide and support our work.

The Howard League Council is an advisory panel of experts who guide and support our work. It meets twice a year.

Andrea Albutt is currently President of the Prison Governors Association, a post she will soon step down from after eight years. Following six years as a military nurse, Andrea joined the Prison Service in 1990 as a prison officer.  She worked through all promotion grades and has been a Governing Governor since 2003.  She has served as Governor of HMP Low Newton, HMP Swansea, HMP Eastwood Park and HMP Bristol.  Andrea was elected onto the Prison Governors Association National Executive Committee in 2007, becoming Vice President in 2009.  She was elected unopposed to President in October 2015 and again in 2017.

Peter Atherton is CEO of Community Led Initiatives CIC. Peter founded Community Led Initiatives in 2013 building on his experience of rebuilding his life after addiction, mental ill health, and extensive time spent in prison and the care system. CLI now deliver probation and recovery contracts in multiple regions across England, employing more than 65 people, a majority of whom have lived experience.

Sir Nicholas Blake, is a retired  High Court judge. As a Silk at the Bar and as a founding member of Matrix Chambers, he specialised in public and human rights law. In 2002 he was appointed a Special Advocate and a Deputy High Court judge in 2002, joining the High Court in 2007. From 2010 to 2013 he was President of the newly established Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). He has served as a British representative of the International Association of Judges. He was involved in the Deepcut Review 2006 and Trustee of the Slynn Foundation for the Rule of Law 2018 to date. He sat as a Trustee of National Portrait Gallery 2004 to 2012 and member of NPG Ethics Committee 2018 to date.

Andi Brierley is a University Teacher and Head of Access, Participation and Outcomes at Leeds Trinity University (LTU). Prior to his academic career, Andi had a 15-year career in youth justice, working with young people assessed as high risk, or on release from custody on intensive licence conditions, and coordinating multi-agency services for children and families. Andi’s research interests include the relational experiences of those that enter the criminal justice system and those that work within it as professionals. He has a particular interest in legitimacy, power, and experiential peers – exploring whether experiential peer involvement in the criminal and youth justice system enhances participation practice and whether this approach can support desistance (the focus of his PhD).

Shami Chakrabarti, Baroness Chakrabarti, CBE, PC is a British politician, barrister, and one of the country’s leading human rights activists. She served as the director of Liberty  from 2003 to 2016. In August 2016, Chakrabarti was made a life peer sitting on the Labour benches, and from 2016-2020 she served as Shadow General for England and Wales. She now serves on the House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee. Shami is the author of several books on human rights.

Neil Chakraborti is a Professor in Criminology and Director of the Centre for Hate Studies at the University of Leicester. He has published extensively within the fields of hate crime, policing and ‘othering’, and has been commissioned by numerous funding bodies including the Amnesty International, the Economic and Social Research Council (EHRC), the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Leverhulme Trust to lead research studies which have shaped policy and scholarship.  Neil is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Chair of the Research Advisory Group at the Howard League for Penal Reform. Press and Protection Approaches.

Dr Bill Davies is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Leeds Beckett University, a position he has held since 2012. Bill’s PhD examined the lived experiences of short-sentenced prisoners. Along with a colleague, Bill runs a university level education program at HMP Full Sutton, a Category A prison outside York. In 2017 Bill won a national teaching award for his work within prisons, being honoured by the Worshipful Company of Educators as Inspirational Teacher of the Year, and is Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. With Rod Earle, Bill co-authored the Winner of the Prison Service Journal’s Best Paper of 2020.  Bill’s current teaching & research interests include prison education, the criminology of tattooing, and convict criminology. In addition to this, Bill is currently studying for a Masters degree in Digital Pedagogy.

Sir Adrian Fulford PC is a retired Lord Justice of Appeal, serving as Vice- President of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) from 2019 until 2022. A criminal Silk before his appointment to the bench, Adrian was the first Investigatory Powers Commissioner from 2017-2019 (he is currently one of the Judicial Commissioners), he served as a judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague from 2003–12 and was the Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales from January 2016 to March 2017. He was a member of the Sentencing Council from 2019 – 2022. He is the Chair of the Security Vetting Appeals Panel and sits on the Courts of Appeal of Guernsey, Jersey and Gibraltar.

Loraine Gelsthorpe is Professor (Emerita) Criminology and Criminal Justice at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge and is a Fellow at Pembroke College.    Loraine was Director of the Institute at Cambridge. from 2017-2022.   She is also Honorary Professor of Criminology at the University of Nottingham.    Loraine has wide interests in the links between criminal justice and social justice, looking at race, gender and social exclusion, deaths under community supervision, women and sentencing, and women, crime and criminal justice more generally.   She also has a strong interest in research methodologies and research ethics, human trafficking and the criminalisation of migrants.    Loraine continues to teach and do research (on vicarious trauma amongst third sector workers, and on the meaning and function of the arts in prisons, for example).   Loraine is a member of HMInspectorate of Probation Advisory Committee, the Ministry of Justice Advisory Committee on Women and Criminal Justice Statistics, and the CPS Disproportionality Advisory Committee.   She became Chair of the Probation Institute in April of this year.

Peter Goldsmith, Rt. Hon. Lord Goldsmith, PC, KC is a British barrister who served as Attorney General for England and Wales and Attorney General for Northern Ireland from 2001 to 2007. He was appointed to the Labour benches of the House of Lords in 1999. He is currently a partner and head of European and Asian litigation practice at global law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and was Vice Chairperson of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre.  From 2019 to 2023, Peter chaired the Howard League’s Commission on Crime and Gambling-related Harms.

Nick Hardwick CBE is a Professor of Criminal Justice at Royal Holloway. Starting his career in the voluntary sector working with young offender at NACRO, he went on to serve as the Chief Executive of Centrepoint and of the British Refugee Council. From 2003-2010 Nick was Executive Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, from 2010-2016, he was appointed to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons and then until 2018 was Chair of the Parole Board. Nick now sits as the Chair of NACRO.

Angela Kirwin is the author of Criminal, published in 2022 and based on her ten years as a social worker in London prisons. In 2015, she received a Churchill Fellowship and travelled to the USA and Norway to research innovative approaches to crime and punishment. Combining her BA(Hons) in Politics & Modern History and an MSc in Social Work with her work experience, Angela now writes about social issues, with a particular interest in prison reform, the criminal justice system, mental health, ADHD and neurodiversity.

Sally Lewis OBE is former chief probation officer of Avon & Somerset Probation Trust. She was subsequently Independent Chair of the Childrens Safeguarding Board in Bristol and Independent Chair of Adult Safeguarding Board in South Gloucestershire. Sally was Chair of the West of England Child Death Overview Panel. Thereafter she was Chair of Directors at the Restore Trust Social Enterprise in Bristol. Sally is South West Ambassador of the Academy for Justice and a former Trustee and Director of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

Ian Loader is Professor of Criminology and Professorial Fellow of All Souls College, at Oxford University. He is also an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Ian is Editor-in-Chief of the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Policing, International Political Sociology and Delito y Sociedad. Ian was a member of the Advisory Board for the Strategic Review of Policing in England and Wales (2019-2022) and of the Research Advisory Board of the Canada/Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission (2021-2023). Ian’s research interests include policing, private security, public sensibilities towards and everyday experiences of crime and security, penal policy and culture, the politics of crime control, and the public roles of criminology.

The President of the Howard League, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven Kt KC, has practised at the Bar since 1978. A founder member of Matrix Chambers, he was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2001, and elected Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association in 2003. Later that year he became Director of Public Prosecutions and served for five years, the first prominent defence lawyer to have been appointed to that post. He became a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 2004, and he was knighted for services to the law in 2007. A deputy High Court Judge since 2010, and a former Visiting Professor of Law at the London School of Economics, he was Warden of Wadham College Oxford between 2012-2021. Currently, he continues to practise in criminal, regulatory and arbitral law from Matrix Chambers, and he sits as a crossbench peer in the House of Lords. He is Chair of the Orwell Foundation.

Gerry Marshall was Chief Executive of Thames Valley Probation from 2001 to 2012, during which time they were both finalists and winners of Howard League Community Awards. He held the Probation Chiefs Association portfolio for Equality and Diversity and for Restorative Justice.

Professor Shadd Maruna is a Professor of Criminology at Queen’s University Belfast and a member of the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advice Panel. Previously, he has worked at the University of Cambridge, the State University of New York, and Rutgers University where he was Dean of the School of Criminal Justice. He received the Howard League for Penal Reform’s inaugural Research Medal in 2011 and his book Making Good was named the Outstanding Contribution to Criminology by the American Society of Criminology in 2001. Until the end of this year, Shadd is the President of the American Society of Criminology. Shadd’s research areas include the role of lived experience leadership in criminal justice, desistance from crime, offender reintegration, penal reform, and narrative methodology.

Stephen O’Connell joined HM Prison Service in 1987 as a Prison Officer. He went on to be the Governor of HMP Maidstone, HMP Swaleside and HMYOI Rochester. He was president of the Prison Governors Association PGA in 2014 before becoming Deputy Director Public of Custody in Kent, Surrey & Sussex in 2016. Stephen moved to HMPPS HQ in 2017 as Deputy Director Prisons and played a key role in the response to COVID before he retired in 2022. Stephen was a trustee with Involve Kent for 10 years, the last four of which he was Chair before retiring in 2022.

Michael O’Kane is the Senior Partner of Peters and Peters. He is jointly responsible for the the leading sanctions blog, European Sanctions Law. He was formerly a senior specialist prosecutor at the CPS. In his spare time, Michael volunteers at Upper Room. Michael chairs the new Howard League Development Board.

Dame Anne Owers DBE has recently assumed the Chair of the Independent Custody Visiting Association, for police custody visiting schemes, having stepped down as Chair of Independent Monitoring Boards in prisons and immigration detention in mid 2023. From 2001 to 2010, she was Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, following which she chaired a review of prisons in Northern Ireland and chaired the Independent Police Complaints Commission from 2012 to 2017. Anne also chaired the Koestler Trust until 2022 and was a member of the advisory group to the Lammy Review. In an earlier life, Anne was Director of JUSTICE.

Nicola Padfield KC (Hon.) is a barrister and Professor of Criminal and Penal Justice in the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. Nicky is a former Master of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. In addition to her academic work, Nicky was a Recorder of the Crown Court from 2002 to 2014, and is a Bencher of the Middle Temple. Her research interests include how the law on release from, and recall to, prison works in practice, and how it is perceived by offenders and those who work in the system. She has been active in a number of pan-European research networks and Criminal Law Review.

Olivia Pinkney CBE QPM DL recently left policing, having served as Chief Constable of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary for 7 years. Having joined policing as a constable straight from Cambridge University, Olivia was one of the most senior officers in the UK,  leading across UK policing for all Local Policing matters of policy and practice, comprising the policing which people see & feel, and which is the gateway to all specialist operational services. She has led UK policing for children & young people, including youth justice, Police Chaplaincy, and been a member of Sentencing Council. Olivia has Chaired the statutory multi-agency Local Resilience Forum for major incident preparedness and response for over a decade. Olivia tutors at the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University and is a Senior Associate Fellow with the Police Foundation, chairing their committee for the annual Cumberland Lodge Conference. She is an Associate Chief Officer with the UK College of Policing and was proud to direct the flagship executive leadership programme across UK policing in 2022. Olivia is an alumnus of FutureVision public sector executive leadership 2021 and contributes to Windsor Leadership programmes. She was awarded QPM in 2016 and CBE in 2023.

Sir John Saunders is a retired High Court Judge. Having taken Silk, Sir John was appointed a Recorder in 1990 and became a Senior Circuit Judge and the Recorder of Birmingham in 2004. In April 2007 was appointed to the High Court, where he was Presiding Judge on the South Eastern Circuit from 2009-2012. He was a member of the Sentencing Council from 2013 to 2016 and was Vice Chair of the Parole Board from and still sits as a Parole Board member. He was Chair of the Manchester Arena Inquiry from 2019 until 2022.

Natalia Schiffrin has had a long career in the NGO sector, working principally in human rights, child protection and domestic violence. She was a magistrate in the criminal court in London 2015 – 2022 and on the Strategic Management Board of London MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) from 2016 to 2020. Natalia is currently a family magistrate, a member of the Family Justice Council and of Transform Justice’s Court Watch programme Advisory Group. She is also a consultant with Law for Life’s Roma Rights Project and a member of the New York Bar.

Pamela J Taylor, CBE, FRCPsych, FMedSci is a British forensic psychiatrist and academic, whose research focusses on the links between psychosis and violence, the mental health and wellbeing of prisoners and, more recently, developing research into Mental Health Treatment Requirements in conjunction with community sentences. Since 2004, she has been a Professor of Forensic Psychiatry in the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences in the School of Medicine, Cardiff University.  Past roles have included Professor of Special Hospital Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London between 1995 and 2004, when she also ran an inpatient unit At Broadmoor Hospital for young men with personality disorder, Head of Medical Services for the Special Hospitals Service Authority 1990-1995, consultant forensic psychiatrist Maudsley and Bethlam Royal hospitals 1982-1989 and clinical director of the Bethlem Royal medium security unit 1988-9. She is editor-in-chief of the academic journal Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health and has co-edited a number of books, including the standard British text Forensic Psychiatry, Clinical, Legal and Ethical Issues. A former Inner London Probation Board member, she has also held various office for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She is a former Board member of the Howard League.

Harriet Tyce is a former barrister and Sunday Times bestselling author of legal thrillers including Blood Orange and the forthcoming A Lesson In Cruelty. Called to the bar in 1996, she specialised in criminal defence work, and now uses that experience to inform her novels, underpinning their popular appeal with serious themes relating to complex aspects of criminal justice.

  • Join the Howard League

    We are the world's oldest prison charity, bringing people together to advocate for change.

    Join us and make your voice heard
  • Support our work

    We safeguard our independence and do not accept any funding from government.

    Make a donation