We are the only frontline national legal team specialising in the legal rights and entitlements of children and young people in custody.
Our specialist legal team identifies the problems and injustice faced by children and young people in the criminal justice system. We work to provide legal solutions for individuals, as well as wider policy changes to prevent the problems reoccurring for other young people.
In 2017 we celebrated 15 years of successful legal work and produced a report detailing our major achievements.
Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2021
During the Covid-19 pandemic, our legal advice line for young people in custody has been more essential than ever. In recognition of our work over the past year, we were shortlisted for a Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in the Legal Aid Firm/Not-for-Profit category.
Your rights during Covid-19
Lots of young people in custody have called our advice line since the Coronavirus lockdown began.
Many say that they are stressed and worried. We have produced a new leaflet to help them and reassure them that their rights have not disappeared.
Our free and confidential advice line is available on the “pin” of every person under the age of 21 in prison. We provide casework on a wide range of issues from parole, recall and criminal appeals, to help with resettlement back into the community and treatment while in prison.
If we cannot help a young person, we will always try to find somebody who can.
Watch a short video about our advice line
We also bring legal cases, sometimes in our own name or through interventions, to help shape the law.
Read our press release on a judicial review, brought by the Howard League for Penal Reform on behalf of a boy who was held in prolonged solitary confinement in a London prison.
Read about the ruling by the Court of Appeal on a legal challenge brought by the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAS) on cuts to legal aid for prisoners.
Participation and children’s voices
Our participation work helps us to draw out young people’s voices beyond the legal work. Read about Children’s Rights Behind Bars, an international project that is empowering children in prison to use their rights. Problems and examples of effective practice that we identify through our legal and participation work inform our work on areas such as solitary confinement.
We are often asked to provide evidence from our legal work to public inquiries. Our evidence aims to bring the voice of the children we provide legal support to into the public domain. Examples include extensive evidence to the Independent Inquiry of Child Sexual Abuse on the risk to children in prison and the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ Inquiry into the use of restraint and solitary confinement of children in detention. You can read our submissions here.
Our lawyers’ network provides a forum for professionals to discuss key legal penal reform issues. The group meets regularly to discuss and debate legal issues arising from our legal and policy work. It is open to members of the legal profession and others who have an interest in penal reform.
Members can sign up to attend events and receive updates on our work.
Add your voice to our movement for change. Every voice counts and we hope that you will add yours.Join us today
Support our work
Everything we do is focused on achieving less crime, safer communities, fewer people in prison. We need you to act now for penal reform.Ways to support