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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 May 2020
    Working hard to help children and young adults in prison

    In the past few weeks our legal team has been working hard to help children and young adults in prison. At a time when young people are being locked in their cells almost all day, we are working to get them safely released wherever possible.  Read more

  • 22 Apr 2020
    How our lawyers continue fighting for young people in prison who are suitable for release

    Alongside our wider legal challenge to the government on the issue of early release of selected prisoners, our lawyers have had to continue fighting for individual young people in prison who are suitable for release to be let out of prison.  Read more

  • 14 Apr 2020
    How our lawyers helped a young mother and her baby

    In the same week that the government announced its plans to release low-risk pregnant women and women with young babies from prison to protect them from coronavirus, our lawyers brought a case to the Court of Appeal on behalf of a young mother in prison.  Read more

  • 27 Mar 2020
    Coronavirus and women in custody: swift and decisive action is needed

    Time is of the essence in this rapidly developing crisis – those working in the criminal justice system, and the public who rely on it, deserve timely and decisive action from the government.  Read more

  • 24 Mar 2020
    Coronavirus and the police

    Police forces will be facing immense pressure in the coming weeks to keep local communities safe and protect the most vulnerable in society during the coronavirus epidemic.  Read more

  • 18 Mar 2020
    Coronavirus in prison: Measures that could be considered

    I was pleased to see that the government intends to ease prisons by increasing the number of people released on home detention curfew. This is a sensible and safe measure that is administratively efficient and quick to achieve. There are other measures that could be considered to take some of the pressure off prisons. I have written to the Secretary of State for Justice, making these suggestions.  Read more

  • 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

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