In Memory of “The Outcasts’ Outcast”
Frank Longford (1905-2001), pictured above, wanted his epitaph to be “the outcasts’ outcast”. It summed up his long and often public career as a politician, cabinet minister, and prisons’ campaigner that was all about standing up for the unpopular and those on the margins of society. In 1956 he founded New Bridge to create links between prisoners and the community. On resigning from the Labour cabinet in 1968, he launched New Horizon, a charity for homeless youngsters.
Many continue to associate Lord Longford primarily with his unpopular campaign to parole the Moors Murderer, Myra Hindley, but it was in reality just one part of a prisons’ crusade that lasted for 70 years, based on his belief that every offender, whatever their crime, could be rehabilitated.
The Real Questions
The celebrated writer Bernard Levin attempted to sum up Lord Longford in 1990: ‘Everybody asks the wrong question about him, viz., is he barmy? The question is not worth asking: of course he is barmy. What we should be discussing is something quite different: is he right?’
“If we are really concerned with the reform of prisoners, what we do when they emerge from custody is at least as important as what we do for them while they are inside” Lord Longford