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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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  • 1 Aug 2016
    Transforming Rehabilitation is having a disastrous impact on women

    The Howard League provides support to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System chaired by Baroness Corston. The APPG has been looking at the treatment of women in the new landscape of privatised community penalties. Later this year it will be publishing research based on oral hearings and written submissions. Kate Green …  Read more

  • 29 Jul 2016
    The manifest injustice of the IPP

    The Chair of the Parole Board, Nick Hardwick, suggested this week that the people serving indeterminate sentences should be released once their tariff has expired unless it can be proved they continue to be a risk. This is a reversal of the current burden of proof that requires people to prove they are safe. This is …  Read more

  • 27 Jul 2016
    Overnight detention of children in police cells

    The Howard League has been campaigning to end the overnight detention of children in police cells. Public concern is gaining momentum. On Monday, Just for Kids Law launched a #NoChildInCells campaign. This is linked to its judicial review challenge on behalf of a 14-year-old boy who was repeatedly held overnight in police cells. The Howard League …  Read more

  • 26 Jul 2016
    Devolution and criminal justice system

    Devolution is being offered to Manchester, and it is a great opportunity for the great city to do things differently. Unfortunately, it comes with strings. Indeed, the puppet master is yet again the Treasury and central government and this means that devolution is not quite the real deal. It could be a real opportunity to develop …  Read more

  • 15 Jul 2016
    Double punishment

    The Howard League had to issue a judicial review recently on behalf of someone I shall call ‘Michael’, a young deaf person in prison, to make sure he got the medical treatment and support he is entitled to. Michael had not had a functioning hearing aid for around six months. During this time, he was unable …  Read more

  • 13 Jul 2016
    Secure schools are the wrong answer to the wrong question

    Charlie Taylor’s review of the youth justice system is complete and is currently sitting on a desk in the Ministry of Justice. When it will be released is hard to say in the current political turmoil, but we are hopeful that it will be published in the next week or so. From his interim findings in …  Read more

  • 12 Jul 2016
    Women’s centres and Transforming Rehabilitation

    Last week the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System, supported by the Howard League, held its AGM and heard from three women’s centres about what is happening to community sentences for women. It is a very depressing picture. The centres giving evidence to MPs and Peers were: Anawim in Birmingham, Alana House …  Read more

  • 4 Jul 2016
    Visiting children’s homes

    I recently visited four residential children’s homes in a city in the Midlands. I am obviously being cautious and not identifying either the place, the company running the homes, and, most importantly, the children. I was invited to visit the homes and was therefore expecting to see good practice, which I did. The homes each had …  Read more

  • 1 Jul 2016
    Women on community sentences are being failed by the system

    The last big change put in place by Chris Grayling still standing is the break up of the 100 year old successful probation service. The impact on women has been catastrophic and something needs to be done urgently to change the system to protect women. Women given a short prison term now have to be handed …  Read more

  • 22 Jun 2016
    Magistrates, sentencing and race

    The Howard League has long argued that justice is not served by conferring the awesome power to incarcerate a citizen on magistrates. As well as the moral argument, the practical implications of short prison sentences are devastating on the individual, counter-productive and costly to the public. Last week I had a very interesting meeting with David …  Read more

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