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Books For Prisoners - MAJOR VICTORY

The Howard League Books For Prisoners campaign saw a major victory in December as the High Court ruled that the ban on sending books to prisoners was unlawful.

The judge said “I see no good reason in the light of the importance of books for prisoners to restrict beyond what is required by volumetric control and reasonable measures relating to the frequency of parcels and security considerations”.

He added that he did not “regard access through the [prison] library services as sufficient”.  It was “strange” to refer to books as a privilege.  

Whilst the Howard League for Penal Reform was hoping that these changes would be implemented before Christmas, it now seems likely that prisoners will be able to receive books by February 2015.

This is substantial victory but there is still work to be done to lift the restriction on families being able to send in other essential items.

Photo: Prison Image

How your membership helps

Your membership, quite simply, enables us to exist. The Howard League for Penal Reform is an independent charity and so relies upon the support of its members and donors to continue its work towards less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison. We need our members to achieve real change and give added authority to our campaigns for a less costly and more effective criminal justice system.

Thank you for your support. Our impact over the last year could not be achieved without your help.

Photo: Prison Image

Prison suicides rise 

The number of people taking their own lives in prison has soared by 69% in a year. These statistics were published by the Ministry of Justice on 31 July 2014. They show there were 88 suicides in the 12 months to the end of March 2014, compared with 52 in the previous 12 months. Equally shocking statistics on assaults, self harm and prison performance can be found in our press release

The Commission on Sex in Prison

The Commission on Sex in Prison released its final report: Sex in prison: experiences of former prisoners on 17 March 2015. Visit the Commission website for further more information.

Fundraising events

Members can fundraise for the Howard League by running, swimming, cycling and more - every penny you raise will help support our vital work for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.


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Our newspaper The Howard, comes out twice a year. Stay up to date with our news, research and events, by reading the latest issue.

The Howard League produces a variety of research briefings and publications each year. Download publications.

All members have online access to the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice.  Please email to register.

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