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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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  • 3 Mar 2020
    Parc prison and its unit for children

    The inspection report on the children’s prison inside G4S run Parc prison is broadly positive, but look closely and there are disturbing undercurrents.  Read more

  • 28 Feb 2020
    Arresting women for ‘violence’

    I have met with senior officers in eight police forces, had an arranged phone call with another, and my colleagues have met with two more. All to support our campaign to reduce the arrests of women.  Read more

  • 25 Feb 2020
    Aylesbury prison, one of the worst in the country

    Aylesbury prison holds young adults, mainly teenagers, and it has been one of the worst prisons in the country for years. It was so awful that it was put into emergency special measures and half the young men were shipped out to other jails – many of which are only marginally better. Despite the extra help, a new inspection shows it is still desperately awful.  Read more

  • 22 Jan 2020
    Travelling to meet police (and staying within the speed limit)

    We are facing the new year in uncertain times. Government rhetoric is dispiriting and seems to be designed to play to the lowest human instincts. It feels a bit like we are all in stasis, awaiting a maelstrom of legislation and activity. Meanwhile, we are getting on with our work with energy as the Howard League is in good shape.  Read more

  • 26 Nov 2019
    General Election 2019: The Conservative Manifesto

    My fourth blogpost looks at the Conservative manifesto. The main problem is that many of the specific proposals are in opposition to evidence. Either they are not backed up by evidence, they are directly contradicted by evidence or, at best, they lack evidence.  Read more

  • 25 Nov 2019
    General Election 2019: The Labour Manifesto

    My third review of the party manifestos is a critique of Labour’s plans. Yet again we see scaremongering about rising violent crime, which, as I said about the Lib Dem manifesto, is a perennial problem, and I am disappointed that a comprehensive plan to address violence is missing.  Read more

  • 22 Nov 2019
    General Election 2019: The Liberal Democrat Manifesto

    My second blogpost in a series of commentaries on the political party manifestos looks at the Lib Dems.  Read more

  • 20 Nov 2019
    General Election 2019: The Green Party manifesto

    The Green Party manifesto was published this week. At 88 pages it is pretty comprehensive, although most of the crime proposals are entreaties to do things better rather than specific legislative reforms. As we know from long experience, just asking people to do things does not necessary achieve the desired result. Although, it is also true that simply introducing new laws can have no effect or indeed have unintended consequences.  Read more

  • 19 Nov 2019
    Why magistrates were wrong to imprison a child and allow him to be named

    Magistrates were wrong to imprison a child of 14 and wrong to allow him to be named. The boy's case was heard in a youth court last week and it has been reported widely, but for reasons that I will go on to explain, I am not sharing a link to the coverage.  Read more

  • 14 Nov 2019
    The Director of Public Prosecutions responds to questions from Howard League supporters

    This is a guest blog, I am hosting it on my blog site so that people who attended the lecture from the Director of Public Prosecutions and anyone else who may be interested can read the questions posted at the lecture on 14 October and the responses from Max Hill. I am very grateful to the DPP for taking the time to respond so fully to questions.  Read more

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