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Howard League Blog

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

  • 30 May 2022
    Howard League Community Awards 2022

    Encouraging desistence from crime through diversion and other interventions – that keep people out of the criminal justice system – is more humane, fairer and more effective than the alternatives of custody, fines and imprisonment. This idea underpins the work of the Howard League. It is also the focus of grassroots projects up and down the country.  Read more

  • 26 May 2022
    ‘Son of a convict’ – law, human rights and the politics of punishment

    Last week, I had the huge privilege of delivering the 2022 Howard League Lecture in honour of Lord Parmoor.  Read more

  • 26 May 2022
    The prison system after Covid-19

    Last week, the Criminal Justice Joint Inspectorate (CJJI) published a progress report on the impact of Covid-19 on the criminal justice system. It describes a system where fatigued staff are struggling to deliver adequate services, and no agency – least of all prisons – is back to ‘business as usual’. This bleak description will be familiar to anyone who has followed the Howard League’s blogposts about life in prison during the pandemic.  Read more

  • 6 May 2022
    Young people’s experiences of prison during the pandemic

    Earlier this year, we invited Howard League members in prison – and members with a loved one in prison – to share their experiences of imprisonment during the pandemic. In April, we built on this by asking young people on our advice line what the past two years had been like for them.  Read more

  • 22 Apr 2022
    The impact of restrictions on visits during the pandemic

    This is the third blogpost in a series on Howard League members’ experiences in prison during the pandemic. It focuses on what members told us about the importance of visits, the impact of no longer seeing family members and friends, and how much harder they have found visits with restrictions.  Read more

  • 7 Apr 2022
    The mental health consequences of imprisonment during the pandemic

    This blogpost is the second in a series on Howard League members’ experiences in prison during the pandemic.  Read more

  • 23 Mar 2022
    Two years of lockdown in prison

    In survey responses gathered in February and March 2022, Howard League members who are in prison or have family members in prison told us about their experiences during the pandemic. They also told us what, in their view, the public needs to know.  Read more

  • 18 Mar 2022
    Keppel’s decline

    When a child is in trouble, we should do all that we can to give them the care and support they need. This may sound obvious, but as the Howard League has seen through its legal work, and as a long line of official inspection reports makes clear, prisons holding children fail routinely to reach this standard. Prison is no place for a child.  Read more

  • 28 Jan 2022
    A welcome review of custodial remand for children

    This week the Ministry of Justice published a long-awaited review of custodial remand for children. This important document responds to concerns raised by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Justice Committee, and echoed by many others including the Howard League, about the ever-increasing proportion of children on remand in prison.  Read more

  • 20 Jan 2022
    Why extending the sentencing powers of magistrates is a bad idea

    The news earlier this week that the government is seeking to extend the sentencing powers of magistrates is deeply disappointing. Legislation was passed in 2003 to extend the sentencing powers of magistrates, but it was never enacted for good reason.  Read more

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