Frances Crook’s blog
Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, provides informal comments on the issues of the day.
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We can reduce reoffending by cutting the prison population
I am pleased that the new Secretary of State for Justice, David Lidington, has said, several times, that he wants to see fewer prisoners. I am a little concerned, however, that he is repeating the old mantra that the way to achieve this is by reducing reoffending.  Read more
Ending the injustice of IPPs
The recent high profile public concern about the people languishing in prison on the long discredited IPP sentence is welcome, as is the pressure to get them eased through the system and released back into the community.  Read more
Children and education in prison
The Howard League made a complaint on behalf of a fifteen year old boy who was not getting sufficient education in prison. The child, who wishes to remain anonymous, had been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and Attention Deficit Disorder before he went to jail as a young teenager.  Read more
Building massive jails in remote locations is a recipe for disaster
This government, as with so many of its predecessors, is trying to build its way out of a prison crisis. It has never worked in the past and it will not work this time.  Read more
David Lidington and Aylesbury prison
There has been much public concern about the state of prisons recently, and justifiably so, as people are dying, being beaten up and harming themselves.  Read more
I don’t know anything more about the background story of Girl X than anyone else, but I think what we do know raises some serious questions for various authorities about the decisions they made and their responsibility for her plight.  Read more
Monitoring isolation of children in prison
On 4 July 2017 the High Court ruled that AB, a child represented by the Howard League legal team, had been treated unlawfully. The boy had been isolated and deprived of education by Feltham prison over several months.  Read more
Peterborough prison and social impact bonds
The final evaluation of the Peterborough prison Payment by Results (PbR) pilot was published last week. This was a scheme to provide support for people released from Peterborough prison after serving short sentences aimed at reducing reoffending.  Read more
Might it be time to hold ministers to account?
Most businesses and charities assess how effective they are being at delivering their objectives and they hold individuals to account. If staff do not deliver or do work that damages the business, they are dismissed. Indeed, in public service, people can be held accountable many years after they have left – look at Hillsborough. Ministers, however, often get away with it.  Read more
The end of sex offender treatment programmes
A few weeks ago I discovered that the prison service had quietly abandoned sex offender treatment programmes. These courses have been a mainstay of dealing with men convicted of a range of sex crimes and have been a prerequisite for securing transfer to open conditions and eventual release from prison.  Read more