Frances Crook is the Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform - the oldest penal reform charity in the UK. Frances was the campaigns co-coordinator at the British Section of Amnesty International in the 1980s, and was twice elected as Labour Councillor for East Finchley.

Appointed at the Howard League in 1986, she has been responsible for the Howard League's research programmes and campaigns to raise public concern about issues including suicides in prison, the over-use of custody, poor conditions in prison, young people in trouble and mothers in prison. Under her direction the number of staff and turnover of the charity has 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.

Come along if you are interested in criminology, sentencing or prison reform, or have an interest in how a small but punchy pressure group works to influence government policy. Frances is well placed to assess the impact of the coalition’s austerity measures on crime rates, incarceration figures and prison conditions. As a member of the Labour Party and one-time councillor, Frances can provide her thoughts about where the party should be on issues of criminal justice and prison reform.