Our work

Our legal work

Our legal service for children and young people in custody was established in 2002. We give children and young people in custody advice about how to improve their treatment and conditions and make sure they are released from prison safely with the support they are entitled to. Children and young people can call us from prison on our free legal advice line. The legal news page provides updates on calls to our advice line and the work of the legal team.

Find out more about our legal work

Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards Finalist 2014

Our parliamentary work

Our parliamentary work includes lobbying, responding to consultations and briefing MPs and Peers. We work closely with politicians at a local and national level to achieve our political objectives. We have established an All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System, chaired by Baroness Corston.

Find out more about our parliamentary work

A roundtable meeting in Parliament


Everything we do is focused on achieving our core campaign objectives. We campaign on a wide range of issues including community programmes, including the Community Programmes Awards, women in prison, children and young adults and real work in prison and prison overcrowding.

Find out more and take action to support our campaigns

Angelica Bell holding a campaign slogan


The Howard League for Penal Reform has a strong and long history of working alongside the academic and research communities. We are currently establishing a range of initiatives to strengthen and broaden this area of work.

Find out more about our research

Barbed: What happened next publication cover

U R Boss

U R Boss project, funded by the Big Lottery for a period of five years, was launched in 2009 and provided an enhanced legal service for children and young people, as well as involving them in a national programme of participation to give them a say and helping them to design and guide penal policy.

While U R Boss ended in July 2014, the Howard League continues to work with young people through our service and participation work.

Find out more

Yes sir, no sir animation still picture


Solicitor and paperwork


Our publications include a comprehensive range of books, reports and briefing papers which can be purchased online.  We also offer a number of our publications to download for free.

See the full list of our publications

Now winners report cover image: a man leaving prison


Our student groups in universities throughout England and Wales, organise discussions and debates, raising awareness of penal reform issues and supporte our work through fundraising and campaigns. We support our students with free materials, training and opportunities for volunteering and internships.

Find out more about our student groups

Students holding The Howard newspapers

What is justice? Re-imagining penal policy

The Howard League Symposium seeks to develop innovative, credible and challenging ideas that build into models to change penal practice and outcomes. It will be charged with generating the climate and the intellectual debate that can act as the springboard to contest the conventional role of the penal system and ultimately promote a new, achievable paradigm that will deliver a reduced role for the penal system while maintaining public confidence, fewer victims of crime and safer communities. The challenge will be to develop an agenda for change that counters the current mores of penal populism.

Find out more about What is Justice?

Statute representing Justice

International work

The Howard League for Penal Reform has consultative status with the United Nations and the Council of Europe and works closely with other voluntary organisations, campaigning to improve the penal system across the world. We have produced a range of resources and publications on international penal issues and regularly attend international conferences.

Find out more about our international work

UN building in Vienna