About Frances Crook

Appointed in 1986, Frances Crook has been responsible for research programmes and campaigns to raise public concern about suicides in prison, the over-use of custody and poor conditions in prison, young people in trouble, and mothers in prison. Under her direction the number of staff and turnover of the charity have grown twenty-fold. The charity has secured a contract with the Legal Services Commission to provide legal advice to children in custody and has taken a number of successful judicial reviews that have improved the treatment of children and young people in custody and on release.

She writes articles for the national media, and frequently does interviews on radio and television news.

Frances Crook was the campaigns co-coordinator at Amnesty International’s British Section from 1980 to 1985. After taking a history degree at Liverpool University she qualified as a teacher, working in secondary schools in Liverpool and London until 1980. She was twice elected as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley on Barnet Council, serving from 1982 to 1990, leading on housing and planning and holding weekly surgeries. She has been a school governor and chaired various local community organisations.

She was a Governor of Greenwich University for six years and chaired the Staff and General Committee, retiring in 2002.

In 2005 to 2008 she served on the Board of the School Food Trust, the non-departmental public body charged with overseeing the implementation of national standards for school food to every school in England and Wales.

In 2009 she was appointed an NHS non-executive director of Barnet Primary Care Trust responsible for a budget of £550 million delivering health services to 350,000 people.

Frances Crook was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 1997 and the Perrie Award in 2005.

She was awarded an OBE for services to youth justice in the 2010 New Year Honours List.

She was appointed a Senior Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics in 2010.

She has been appointed an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Department of Criminology at Leicester University in 2014.

The Howard League for Penal Reform

The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the UK. It was established in 1866 and is named after John Howard, one of the first prison reformers. The Howard League for Penal Reform is entirely independent of government and is funded by voluntary donations.

Our core beliefs

The Howard League for Penal Reform:

  • works for a safe society where fewer people are victims of crime;
  • believes that offenders must make amends for what they have done and change their lives
  • believes that community sentences make a person take responsibility and live a law-abiding life in the community

Moderation policy

I want to encourage an open debate on this site, however as a charity we have to abide by certain legal guidelines and your comments will be moderated.  Posts broadly in line with our charitable objectives are welcome.