Key Links



Death Penalty


Justice System





Practitioner Links

Domestic Violence

Mental Disorder

Restorative Justice

Sex Offenders

Substance Misuse



News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

June 2, 2005: New Report on Children in Custody

The Howard League for Penal Reform has published a report on the desperate needs of children in penal custody and on release back into the community. The report, “Children In Custody: Promoting The Legal And Human Rights Of Children”, describes the establishment of the UK's first and only legal centre to promote the legal and human rights of individual children in custody. The Howard League set up the centre in 2003 following its successful judicial review against the Home Secretary for refusing to apply the 1989 Children Act to children in custody.

The report describes how the Howard League is working in the interests of the individual children to improve their conditions and treatment, but is also using legal challenges to improve the policies and practice in caring for all children in custody. This combination of individual legal casework, research and campaigns to further the cause of penal reform and children's legal and human rights is unique in the charitable sector. Howard League director Frances Crook commented:

"Thousands of children experience penal custody each year and their legal and human rights are breached daily. If the authorities treat children carelessly or cruelly they set a poor example that the children may replicate. These are desperate and demanding children who are likely to cause more hurt to themselves and to others if their needs are not met."

The report outlines the stories of 31 children who have been helped, including:

  • 16 year old Jack phoned the Howard League from prison. He was a vulnerable boy who had suffered serious abuse by men close to him and took drugs to deaden his emotional pain. Jack was on a full care order so the local authority was, in effect, his parents. Yet, his local authority had failed to find him accommodation to enable the prison to release him in time for Christmas. On release he was simply put in a bed and breakfast with no support. The Howard League took judicial review proceedings and the high court judgment declared that a proper plan should always be prepared for children in care being released from custody and that support should be provided.
  • 17 year old Sally had severe mental health problems and a history of neglect. She had been on suicide watch in prison and was deliberately injuring herself. She was held in virtual solitary confinement in prison for 3 weeks, eating her meals on her own and taking exercise in what amounted to a cage. The Howard League, acting as her solicitor, took judicial review proceedings and the judge found that child prisoners should be entitled to challenge the decision before being placed in segregation. The Home Secretary appealed and the case went to the Court of Appeal, which again found in the Howard League's favour.