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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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  • 13 Mar 2019

    The convictions of five former staff for assaulting boys in Medomsley detention centre comes after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse found more than 1,000 allegations of sexual abuse of children in jails. The history of incarcerating children and young people is littered with sexual abuse and violence.  Read more

  • 4 Mar 2019
    The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: Here’s what should happen next

    The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published its findings on how children in jails have been victims of sexual abuse. It found more than 1,000 allegations of abuse and says that there are too many children in custody, particularly too many remanded to custody, and this is putting them at risk.  Read more

  • 25 Feb 2019
    Principles for probation

    I attended a meeting today on how to sort out probation. We agreed that it was under the ‘Chatham House Rule’, which means I can talk about what we talked about but I will not identify who was there or who said what. All I will say is that the meeting included some representatives from the professions and users in the system and the group will carry on working.  Read more

  • 22 Feb 2019
    The state cannot outsource its human rights obligations

    The High Court made an important judgment this week about the failure of the Ministry of Justice to monitor private prisons. It got no media coverage as it got lost in the maelstrom of politics.  Read more

  • 28 Jan 2019
    My link to John Howard via Bedford prison

    I did some television interviews on Bedford prison last week, discussing the inspection report that had revealed a prison in turmoil. The inspectorate found conditions in the prison to be so dangerous that it took the rare step last year of invoking the Urgent Notification protocol to demand immediate action. The inspection report was finally published on 22 January and it makes for desperately awful reading.  Read more

  • 28 Nov 2018
    Why I’d like to meet the man who burgled my home

    This is going to be personal. I was burgled a couple of weeks ago.  Read more

  • 9 Nov 2018
    We should not be criminalising everything

    I agree with both chief constable Sara Thornton and Sue Fish, former chief constable.  Read more

  • 2 Nov 2018
    One last restructuring that probation staff would welcome

    The Chief Inspector of Probation has just published the first in a series of inspections she is carrying out on the National Probation Service.  Read more

  • 12 Oct 2018
    The rising number of people dying in prison by unexplained causes

    We get notifications when people die in prisons. Over the years we have monitored the number of people dying by suicide, through natural causes and due to homicide. In the last three years the number of deaths that appear to be unexplained has soared, and I think there is something quite different happening inside prisons that no one has really grasped.  Read more

  • 29 Aug 2018
    Why police and crime commissioners should not be the local vehicle for probation reform

    We are in discussion with the Ministry of Justice and various interested organisations about the future of probation. We have developed a blueprint for how we could solve the problems created by Chris Grayling's disastrous reforms but there are some structural issues that are proving contentious.  Read more

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