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Howard League Blog

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

  • 21 Dec 2016
    What Christmas is really like for people behind bars

    Regular as clockwork the stories about 'convicts' enjoying 'belly-busting' feasts at Christmas appear. The clichéd stories always conjure up the poverty-stricken Dickensian pension as an emotional ploy to make everyone hate these nasty prisoners dining out in luxury.  Read more

  • 20 Dec 2016
    The answer to the prison crisis is simple: less is better

    Yesterday, Liz Truss made a statement and answered questions in Parliament following the riot in Birmingham prison. She reiterated her plan to recruit more staff, although this will only replace a quarter of those who were got rid of by her predecessor-but-one.  Read more

  • 12 Dec 2016
    Secure schools are not the answer

    I applaud the aims of Liz Truss. If we have to incarcerate children, they should be safe, be educated and be able to thrive. But I do not think secure schools will be the answer.  Read more

  • 9 Dec 2016
    We should support Liz Truss

    There have been some rather nasty personal social media attacks against the new Secretary of State. My view is that it is legitimate to critique what ministers do and their leadership, but not to make it personal.  Read more

  • 8 Dec 2016
    A young person being held in a state of limbo over a decision to allow him to attend his mother’s funeral

    Two weeks ago I wrote about the efforts of our legal team to persuade a prison to escort a young person to see his dying mother. The prison had told the lad it was too short-staffed to take him. His mother died before he got the opportunity to visit her.  Read more

  • 5 Dec 2016
    Dangerous driving

    On Sunday, the government announced plans to increase to life imprisonment the sentence for dangerous driving when someone has been killed.  Read more

  • 25 Nov 2016
    A young person prevented from saying goodbye to his dying mother

    Yesterday I tweeted about the work one of our lawyers was doing to try and get a prison to escort a young person to see his dying mother. The prison refused. It appears it is so short-staffed it could not escort him.  Read more

  • 18 Nov 2016
    Guidance issued to magistrates following Howard League legal case

    Some weeks ago Howard League lawyers took legal action against two magistrates courts for unlawfully ordering the police to arrest a child for not paying a fine.  As a result the 15-year-old boy was detained for two nights at the police station.  Read more

  • 17 Nov 2016
    Turning off the prison treadmill

    Today HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has published his report on people on an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP) who are still in prison years past their tariff. This Kafka-esque sentence was introduced by Labour in 2003 and caught 8,711 men and women in its net until it was abolished by Ken Clarke in 2012.  Read more

  • 11 Nov 2016
    Recruit 2,500 more prison officers? Balderdash

    The central plank of the government’s plan to deal with the prison crisis is the recruitment of more officers. They claim they are going to recruit an additional 2,500 front line officers, and this will allow staff to be responsible for six prisoners each, forming relationships and overseeing their journey through the prison system. Balderdash.  Read more

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