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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

May 16, 2007: Commission on English Prisons Announced

The Howard League for Penal Reform has today  announced the establishment of a major national Commission of Inquiry into the penal system, using prisons as the anchor but ranging widely across policy and practice.

Cherie Booth QC has agreed to be President of the Commission. The Howard League  is currently in the process of inviting eminent people who will both represent various sectors of the penal system and are some of the country’s leading thinkers. Howard League Vice Chair Professor David Wilson  will chair the Commission meetings. Cherie Booth stated:

“I am delighted to be President of this Commission, which will investigate the role of prisons today and their place in the broad workings of the criminal justice system. As the oldest penal reform charity in the world, and with U.N. consultative status, the Howard League for Penal Reform is well placed to launch such a wide-ranging inquiry. The original Commission on English Prisons Today, which reported in 1922, was hugely influential, not just among the political classes but on popular attitudes to crime and punishment.";

“Of course, imprisonment must remain the proper sentence for the most serious offences and prison will continue to have a central role in the criminal justice system. But the new Commission, which will number eminent criminologists, leading opinion formers and figures from across the political spectrum, will also explore new ideas like restorative justice as well as how we can best turn offenders away from crime.”

The Commission will investigate under the following broad remit:

  • to investigate the purpose and proper extent of the use of prison in the 21st Century;
  •  to consider how best to make use of the range of community sentences that currently exist, the principles that should guide them and to explore new ideas;
  •  to consider the role of the media – both broadcast and in print, in helping to re-shape the debate about the reform and proper use of imprisonment;
  •  to investigate those issues which drive up the prison population in an age of globalisation;
  •  to place any recommendations within the broader workings of the criminal justice system of England and Wales, giving due consideration to international developments related to prisons and imprisonment.

Welcoming the establishment of the Commission, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said:

“The criminal justice system as a whole, and our prisons in particular, are under huge strain. Our penal policy needs some radical rethinking, not least about the importance of developing alternatives to custodial sentencing and the role of restorative methods of justice which involve not just the perpetrators of crime but their victims, and the wider community."

“We cannot continue to fill our prisons to the point where they become unmanageable and dehumanizing for prisoners, prisoners’ families and prison staff alike, as well as failing conspicuously in the prevention of reoffending. I hope the Howard League’s Commission will be an opportunity for the wider community, which includes many committed volunteers, to voice their concerns and for ideas based on the experience of those without, as well as within, the system to be taken seriously.”