Second chances for ex-offenders through education

The Longford Prize

The Longford Prize

The Longford Prize recognises the contribution of an individual, group or organisation working in the area of penal or social reform in showing outstanding qualities in the following areas:





It is awarded annually by a prize committee on behalf of the trustees and patrons of the Longford Trust.  From 2016, the prize winner will receive £5,000, thanks to sponsorship from The McGrath Charitable Trust, founded by Kevin and Kate McGrath. The awards' ceremony takes place as part of the annual Longford Lecture.

The Longford Prize is organised in association with The Prison Reform Trust.PRT logo

How to nominate

An Introduction by Judith Kazantzis, chair of the Judging Panel 2002-2009

Judith Kazantzis

I was delighted to chair the judging of this prize, named in memory of my father. While he had his strength, he never failed to answer the prisoners, often despairing and lonely, who appealed to him for practical help or just friendship. When I think back over the years to countless phone calls from unknown men, ringing to ask for Frank, or for Lord Longford, maybe to report progress on their case, or just to confide, I see how he was an inspiration from my student days, in the deepest sense: in his belief in equality and justice, those two pillars of a truly free society.

No one is less free than the prisoner. How simply I heard my father put this: how irrefutably. He said that society cannot go on punishing and punishing the prisoner, who is already punished with the loss of his freedom, with the key thrown away. The prisoner must be treated with human dignity. He or she absolutely must be offered the chance of a new life after prison.

My father drew every day until he died from the teachings of Jesus Christ. The prodigal son was a story we read to him on his deathbed. He himself was prodigal in his prison visits, often in the worst of weathers, seeing complex, long incarcerated people at the end of exhausting journeys. He was prodigal just as much in his public speaking out for reform of our prison system. I believe he had it right: to work for the individual, to fight for the wider change, like one hand holding the other hand.

How to make a nomination for the 2016 Longford Prize

1. Tell us about your nomination

Write a short (maximum 1000 word) description of why the individual, group or organisation is suitable for the award. All nominees must having been working in the field of social or penal reform at some stage during the 12 months before the deadline for entries.

2. Add endorsements

Nominations should be endorsed by at least two individuals or groups who can testify from personal experience to the contribution of the nominee. These endorsements should take the form of a short (one page) covering note, attached to the nomination, commending it to the attention of the trustees.

3. Send in before November 1, 2016

Send eight copies of your nomination and endorsements for the 2016 Longford Prize to arrive on or before the deadline November 6, 2015, to: Longford Trust, PO Box 64302, London NW6 9JP.  If you can, we would prefer you to email your nominations and supporting documents, via the 'Contact Us' section of this website, marking your entries 'Prize Nomination'.

The criteria

The criteria the judging panel will apply will be as follows:

1. specific work in the field of social and/or community work;
2. specific work in the field of penal reform, with prisoners or ex-prisoners;
3. drawn attention to a particular area of human abuse, either on an individual or systemic level;
4. drawn attention to a particular or general failure of social or penal provision;
5. provided particularly effective ideas for reform or policy recommendations;
6. acted on a specific occasion, or continuously, with outstanding courage in the area of social and penal affairs.

The judging process

The judges consider all entries and may want to seek additional information on nominees. The winner and any additional specially commended entrants are informed of the judges’ decision in advance of the annual Longford Lecture for 2016 and are invited to come to the event which includes the presentation of the Longford Prize. In exceptional circumstances travelling expenses are paid.

The presentation

The winner may be asked to say a few words from the platform. All winners are invited to put up a small display about their work on the occasion of the Longford Lecture so that those attending this event can meet the prize winners at the reception which follows the lecture. It is hoped that the awarding of the prize attracts public and media attention to the work of the individual/group or organisation honoured.

The prize

The winner receives a cheque for £5,000 and a certificate. Any entrants specially commended receive a cheque for £250 and a certificate. 

The Judges

The judges for the Longford Prize in 2016 include: Lord Ramsbotham, ex- Chief Inspector of Prisons; Chloe Billington, child therapist, contributor to Inside Time and National Prison Radio, and grand-daughter of Lord Longford; the journalist, Mary Riddell; Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust; and a representative of the sponsors, The McGrath Charitable Trust. The panel is chaired by former prison governor and Longford Trust trustee, John Podmore.

Past Winners



Past Prize

Longford Prize Winner: Prisoners Abroad

The judges highlighted the 'courage, persistence and humanity' of Prisoners Abroad, over almost three decades, sometimes in the face of public and official indifference and even hostility, and made special mention of its on-going work in helping those who have been in overseas prisons re-integrated back into Britain when they are released.

The Longford Prize judges also made special mention of two other entries:

The Forgiveness Project, for its work in exploring and encouraging notions of forgiveness through grassroots projects (including in prisons) in the fields of conflict resolution, reconciliation and victim support; and

Joe Baden and the Open Book Project, which encourages young ex-prisoners who have achieved educational qualifications while in prison to consider taking their studies further at a range of south London higher education institutes, including Goldsmith's College.

And the Longford Prize judges made a Lifetime Award in honour of his outstanding contribution to the cause of prison reform over many decades to the leading barrister and campaigner Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC