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Frances Crook’s blog

Frances Crook in front of office bookshelves

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, provides informal comments on the issues of the day.

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  • 31 May 2017
    Reviewing the Manifestos: Labour

    The last Labour government presided over an explosion in the number of men, women and children sent to prison and the length of time those people were incarcerated. People in prison are generally from economically poor families, with experience of mental health and social deprivation.   Read more

  • 25 May 2017
    Reviewing the Manifestos: Conservatives

    The Conservative Party manifesto broadly continues the direction the government has been taking over the past couple of years under Michael Gove and Liz Truss.  Read more

  • 18 May 2017
    Reviewing the Manifestos: Liberal Democrats

    The Conservative Party manifesto broadly continues the direction the government has been taking over the past couple of years under Michael Gove and Liz Truss.  Read more

  • 15 May 2017
    Safeguarding

    Our lawyers speak to children and young people in prison, as well as their loved ones and professionals who work with them every day. More and more often, what we are told causes us concern that they have either been harmed or are at risk of being seriously harmed.  Read more

  • 9 May 2017
    Healthcare in prisons

    The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has published a report into the death of Daniel Adewole, a 16-year-old boy who died at Cookham Wood prison in July 2015. The report raised concerns about the procedures and staff responses at the prison, which only holds children.  Read more

  • 3 May 2017
    Smoking in prisons

    More prisons are due to ban smoking over the summer. It is difficult to argue that anyone should continue smoking as we all know that it kills, and kills painfully and prematurely.  Read more

  • 28 Apr 2017
    Scotland’s plan to reform (and reduce) women’s imprisonment

    Yesterday I wrote about our visit to Scotland. We went to explore three particular issues: Scotland’s plan to reform (and reduce) women’s imprisonment, the punishment system that does not include imposing additional days, and the new structure for independent monitors of prisons.  Read more

  • 27 Apr 2017
    Lessons from Scotland

    There is rarely much to applaud in the criminal justice system, so it was exhilarating to spend two days in Scotland hearing about good practice and principled leadership.  Read more

  • 19 Apr 2017
    The general election

    I am not pleased about the general election as it will be a bad thing for the justice system. Goodness knows, things could hardly get worse, but the election means that nothing will happen for weeks and then a new justice secretary will want to have a think.  Read more

  • 13 Apr 2017
    How to reduce the death toll in prisons

    Yesterday I attended a roundtable meeting to discuss prison safety convened by the prisons minister, Sam Gyimah. It brought together the key experts in prison safety, from NHS to voluntary groups, from the Ministry of Justice officials to academics.  Read more

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