Skip Content

Howard League Blog

Informal comment from our Chief Executive, Andrea Coomber KC (Hon.), and other contributors.

  • 12 Apr 2023
    Racial disparities in youth justice – from policing to custody

    It is only early April, but this year has already laid bare alarming trends in youth justice.  Read more

  • 1 Jan 2023
    People Are Not Things

    It was sad news indeed to learn that the former chief inspector of prisons, Lord Ramsbotham, passed away in the lead up to Christmas at the age of 88. Long after his impressive tenure as chief inspector, he remained a tireless campaigner on improving prison conditions and a staunch voice for penal reform in the House of Lords. He will be much missed.  Read more

  • 13 Dec 2022
    What happens when young people in prison experience bereavement?

    Earlier this year, our legal team was contacted by a young person in prison. His great-aunt, who had cared for him while his father was working, had passed away and he had been denied the right to attend her funeral.  Read more

  • 7 Nov 2022
    A speech at the Temple Church for Prisons Week

    On 12 October 2022, during Prisons Week, Andrea Coomber was invited to give a speech at Choral Evensong at the Temple Church in London. Her words are transcribed here.   Read more

  • 7 Oct 2022
    “Stuck in a hole”: Fighting for family contact in the youth justice system

    Earlier this year, a young person contacted the Howard League legal team for advice about getting a transfer to a prison closer to his home. He had spent more than two years of his sentence without any face-to-face contact with his loved ones, and felt intensely the alienating and lonely effects of this separation during his already challenging circumstances.   Read more

  • 3 Oct 2022
    “This sentence is a living hell”

    The Howard League is to hold a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference this afternoon. The title is ‘What’s the future for prisons?’ and the scandal of sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) is likely to be among the topics that come up for discussion.  Read more

  • 23 Sep 2022
    “I can’t win”: How it feels to be a girl in a boys’ prison

    Prison is no place for a child. But those children who find themselves in the care of the state should be given every provision and support needed. Unfortunately, inspection reports released this week show that girls across the youth custodial estate are being failed by a system inadequate to house or care for them.  At the time …  Read more

  • 22 Jul 2022
    2022 Howard League Community Awards deadline extended

    After a challenging couple of years with the pandemic, and now the added pressure of a growing cost-of-living crisis, it is particularly important that we recognise the outstanding individuals and projects helping to reduce crime and keep our communities safe.  Read more

  • 19 Jul 2022
    Anyone with a positive story to tell should enter the Howard League Community Awards

    One of the greatest moments of my first few months in office was when our win was announced at the Howard League for Penal Reform’s 2021 Community Awards, writes Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner.  Read more

  • 4 Jul 2022
    A step towards a more humane criminal justice system

    For the past three years, the Howard League for Penal Reform has been campaigning against archaic legislation which allows courts to send acutely unwell people to prison as a ‘place of safety’ or for their ‘own protection’. Last week, the government published a Draft Mental Health Bill which would finally remove this option.  Read more

  • Join the Howard League

    We are the world's oldest prison charity, bringing people together to advocate for change.

    Join us and make your voice heard
  • Support our work

    We safeguard our independence and do not accept any funding from government.

    Make a donation