The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has issued its report on children’s rights when mothers are sentenced to imprisonment. The report is clear that there is an urgent need for reform.
I was pleased to be invited to speak at a workshop with exactly that hopeful title, organised by Haringey Council on 11 September.
Louise King, Director of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (Just for Kids Law), hit the right note at the outset by explaining how the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provided a principled foundation for making sure that children in trouble with the law were dealt with outside a criminal justice setting.
It was with considerable sadness that I read of the recent passing of one of probation's most trenchant public defenders, Professor Paul Senior.
Quite quickly it became clear to me that how we talk about transgender prisoners can itself be a barrier to debate, understanding and effective policy.
Some, for instance, reject the notion that the birth sex of transgender prisoners is a relevant consideration. As a result, referring to trans women as "male-born" is, for some, tantamount to transphobia.
One of the more enduringly memorable events that I had the good fortune to experience during my 20 years working as a front-line probation officer, was attending an annual residential conference held in a hilltop hotel overlooking one of Cumbria's wonderful lakes - Windermere.
Whilst working in an approved premise for people in the final stages of their sentences, I became aware of a new arrival. He was a 36-year-old man named Alan (not his real name). Before Alan arrived, he had spent 15 years in the criminal justice system. My boss at the time called me at home one Saturday evening to inform me that Alan would be with us on Tuesday. The purpose of the phone call was to summon me to a meeting first thing on Monday morning.
I recently read Professor David Wilson's compelling memoir of his professional life working with violent men - especially those who have committed murder. His book reminded me of a particular prison visit I undertook when working as a probation officer.
Eighteen months ago, the Prison Service Journal published an article by Dr Ruth Mann, Flora Fitzalan Howard and Jenny Tew, which focused on ‘rehabilitative culture’. During the intervening period interest has continued to grow and this edition attempts not only to take stock of the current state of play, but also to provide ideas,illustrations and advice that are deliberately intended to shape practice.
Working in a residential rehabilitation unit for people who had become dependent upon illegal drugs in addition to a diagnosed mental health problem, I became aware of a new arrival. He was a 40-year-old man named Frank (not his real name). Frank had a long-standing diagnosis of depression and had been dependent on heroin for over five years.
Mike Guilfoyle recalls his supervision of 'Mason'
Roger Grimshaw examines the government consultation on a public health duty to address serious violence