Quakers in Criminal Justice

August 2015 Newsletter Download PDF


Wow, Michael Gove's speech at the Prison Learning Alliance was quite a breath of fresh air and if his attitude cascades through the ranks of the prison system we are certainly in for some pleasant surprises. Maybe there is “a treasure at the heart of every government”. I had been concerned about this government's election drive to outlaw human rights.

Anyone else equally concerned about the potential of annexing the Human Rights Act (1989) from UK law, will be pleased and appeased to have a well informed and politically alive article on the subject in this issue and I assure you it does make for good, summer reading. Equally interesting a friend has brought to our attention a report called “Presumption Against Imprisonment” – its content is well researched, enlightened and it is heartening to know that it was produced by the British Council.

Another report authored by members Jacqueline Hodgson and Juliet Horne “Imagining more than just a prisoner” explores the impact on prisoners of having a penfriend. The report was launched at the House of Lords in June this year and furthers academic research that ratifies the work of Friends. It is hoped to have a review of their report for the next issue of this newsletter.

Balancing these academic themes, this edition has yet another well written, reminiscent, review of a Quaker prison chaplain's life, some poems, an update from Leeds Saturday Seminars, more practical strategies to help offenders with learning disabilities and a short recollection on a member's experience at a QICJ conference ten years ago.

It is this latter “Recollections from by gone years” that strikes a chord with me as I had exactly the same experience as the author had some five years later. That was when, Ann Jacob, our chair and membership officer, unobtrusively ensured that I, as a newcomer, did not feel at all left out at my first QICJ conference. For that, I am truly grateful.

Jonathan Lamb who has started to produce a visually uplifting, electronic version of this newsletter would be grateful for photos or other images to be submitted with articles for the newsletter so that he can continue with this pursuit.

Carmel Schmid
Newsletter editor

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