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In Distinguished Company

Here is the roll of honour of present and past prize winners, along with the what the judges said about their contribution to prison reform.

How To Nominate


2023 Winner


2023 Prize Winner: JENGbA

The judges’ citation:

“JENGbA began in 2010 as a women-led, grass-roots organisation and it has grown in size, reach and effectiveness over the years since in providing nationwide frontline support for those in some of the deepest waters of our legal system who are facing joint enterprise convictions as well as their families. Impactful, tireless and strategic, it has successfully engaged with Parliament, the Law Commission, the Crown Prosecution Service and the High Court and Supreme Court to raise awareness of the case for reform.  We believe JENGbA fulfils each of our criteria of courage, persistence, humanity and originality and can truly claim to be changing the system.”


2022 Winners


2022 Prize Winners: Koestler Arts and Brendan Ross of the St Giles Trust

The judges’ citation:

“With the prison system emerging slowly from the Covid lockdown and struggling to be effective in rehabilitation when faced by so many challenges and so few resources,  the judges have decided on joint winners of the 2022 Longford Prize (for only the second time in 20 years) as beacons of hope in troubled times. Both excel in very different ways in practically supporting, encouraging and inspiring those in prison and those released from prison to make rehabilitation a reality.

Our first joint winner Brendan Ross developed and leads the St Giles’ Trust Peer Circles Project that provides employment services for people with multiple and complex needs. Around half are homeless. Brendan’s commitment, growing out of his own lived experience, to the hardest to reach individuals in the most difficult situations truly transforms lives.

Our second winner, Koestler Arts, this year celebrates the 60th anniversary of its awards which nurture creativity to encourage rehabilitation and so reduce reoffending. Its annual exhibitions of art work by prisoners in galleries around the country make a vital human connection between the prisoners who make the work and the members of the public who admire it.”


2021 Winner


2021 Prize Winner: Women in Prison

The judges’ citation:

“In our first ever Longford Prize awards, Women in Prison and its late founder Chris Tchaikovsky were highly commended. Twenty years on, we believe that this organisation has developed a remarkable resilience and effectiveness to go with that founding vision. It is a powerful force nationally, fighting passionately, practically and persuasively for both women’s centres as alternatives to prison, and for women behind bars and after release, as well as for their families, friends and loved ones. What it achieves has an impact on all prisoners in a system in serious need of reform.’


2020 Winner – no prize awarded


2019 Winners


2019 Prize Winner: Switchback
2019 Outstanding Achievement Awards: Jezz Wright of Wayout TV and Prison Reading Groups

The judges’ citations:

The transition from prison back into the community is so often when the system fails. For the past 11 years, Switchback has been engaging with 18-30-year-olds in the London area, many from BAME communities, to support them through the gate. It does this so effectively that the individuals it helps each year are five times less likely to reoffend than other newly-released prisoners. It enables lasting change through intensive one-to-one support, real-work training and a range of strategic partnerships. It is, the judges believe, a focussed, inspiring resettlement charity that is a beacon of hope at a time when centrally-funded alternatives are in chaos.”

“Through his work in establishing and growing Wayout TV, a two-channel television station which launched in 2014, and now delivers quality information and educational content to an audience of 30,000 prisoners in 40 jails, Jezz Wright, the judges concluded, has been at the very forefront of developing positive, life-enhancing, in-cell learning in prisons. This modest, determined pioneer has, through Wayout TV, persuaded many behind bars to take up study (up to and including Open University courses). We hope his work will continue, be further replicated, and that prisons will slowly come to better reflect the digital world outside their walls.”

“As it marks its 20th anniversary, the judges want to celebrate the understated but enormously important work of Prison Reading Groups in consistently promoting and supporting reading in prisons over two decades, whatever the political climate, and thus boosting informal learning, creating connectedness with outside culture, harnessing reading to bring families together, and building community inside the 40 jails where it operates. It is a simple idea, done well, that has had too little recognition of its substantial achievements.”

2018 Winners


2018 Prize Winners: Haven Distribution
2018 Outstanding Achievement/Highly Commended Awards: Josie Bevan and Reprieve

The judges’ citations:

“Founded 22 years ago by Lee Humphries, and still run and funded entirely by volunteers, Haven Distribution has sent out tens of thousands of books over two decades to prisoners in every jail in the country in response to requests from those desperate to engage in education. These books are priceless stepping stones in their rehabilitation that would otherwise be out of reach. Thought it is determinedly low profile, Haven Distribution should, we believe, be publicly applauded for sustaining this vital lifeline to prisons with such constancy, durability and dedication.”

“With the 20th anniversary approaching of its tireless efforts to uphold human rights, due process and the rule of law, Reprieve has made a Highly Commended contribution in this country and on the international stage. Its work is especially valuable, we believe, in these uncertain times around the globe, and we commend in particular Reprieve’s efforts in Saudi Arabia on behalf of 18 young men currently facing the death penalty for the ‘crime’ of protesting.”

“In her ever-more popular Prison Bag blog, Josie Bevan tells it as it is to be part of a prisoner’s family. Her voice is eloquent, funny, passionate and compelling on behalf of families struggling on a little-reported frontline of the criminal justice system. Her success in reaching the parts of the public debate that others fail to reach – through a BBC podcast, a BAFTA-nominated children’s documentary, and even a full page in the Daily Mail – is to be applauded.”

2017 Winners

2017 Prize Winners: Safe Ground 
2017 Outstanding Achievement Awards: Niki Gould and David Jolie  

The judges’ citations: 

“Founded in 1993 by Antonia Rubinstein and Polly Freeman, and working through drama, dialogue and debate with serving prisoners, Safe Ground has an outstanding and independently-verified track record of reaching the angry young men who both commit crime and are victims of crime.  Its ‘Man Up’ and ‘Fathers Inside’ programmes challenge those in both the adult and the youth estate to develop a greater self-awareness and resilience that will lead them to change the entrenched patterns of their lives.”

“We were hugely impressed by the work of Niki Gould, head of women’s community services at the Nelson Trust since 2010. Supporting vulnerable women on their transition back into the community, and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them as they confront the challenges of rebuilding their lives, she combines the calm purposefulness of a model professional with what one colleague describes as ‘a below-the-surface ferocious, iron-willed stubbornness driven on by a keen sense of social justice’.”

David Jolie does extraordinary work on the front-line of some of the toughest parts of London, with some of the most disadvantaged people in the capital. His involvement with St Giles Trust started in 2005 while he was still a serving prisoner, and he has subsequently taken on challenging leadership roles there working with homeless prison leavers, and as part of the Outliers programme that engages with those who have fallen through every other safety net.  As his nomination puts it: ‘David is living proof that ex-prisoners are the very best people to help others rehabilitate’”

2016 Winners

2016 Prize Winners: Unlock and The Shakespeare Trilogy
2016 Lifetime Achievement Award: Juliet Lyon

The judges’ citations: 

Unlock, founded in 1999, is run by people with convictions for the estimated 10.5 million people living with convictions in the UK. It has the invaluable aim of countering the sometimes life-long disadvantage that can result from having a criminal record. From persuading employers to adopt fairer recruitment practices to challenging the insurance industry to reduce inflated premiums for those with convictions, Unlock’s sustained, practical and highly effective work means that those it supports can successfully navigate the many obstacles on the path to rehabilitation and positive re-engagement with society.”

The Shakespeare Trilogy is an outreach scheme by Clean Break Theatre Company, York Saint John University’s Prison Partnership Project and the Donmar Warehouse. Developed over four years of workshops in women’s jails, it has resulted in highly-acclaimed West End productions of three of Shakespeare’s plays. Each stars ex-prisoners and is set behind bars. The whole project is a lightning conductor for the place and value of the arts in prisons. In the insight it allows audiences into the lives of those in the otherwise closed world of a jail, the Trilogy powerfully and memorably highlights our shared humanity and potential.”

“In a lifetime of commitment to those on the margins of society – in mental health, managing the Richmond Fellowship therapeutic communities; in education as head of a psychiatric unit school; and from 2000 until 2016 as director of the Prison Reform TrustJuliet Lyon has always combined passion with powerful advocacy, rooted in a peerless command of her subject and hands-on experience.  A natural leader, and an innovative, irresistible campaigner, she has played a crucial role in improving the lives of many, most notably female and young offenders. She is, in the world of prison reform, a national treasure.”

2015 Winners

2015 Longford Prize: PACT
2015 Lifetime Achievement Award: Eric McGraw

The judges’ citations: 

“Good research and good practice have both long shown that maintaining strong family ties is one of the key factors in offenders’ rehabilitation and avoidance of reoffending.  And for that reason the judges want this year to celebrate the outstanding work of PACT and the thoughtful and wide-ranging support it provides for the parents, siblings and children of prisoners, who are often the hidden victims of crime.”

“It is hard to think of another individual in recent times who has had more of a direct and sustained impact on the everyday life of prisoners in this country than Eric McGraw. In 1990, he set up Inside Time as a newspaper that gave prisoners a voice.  Under his inspired leadership, it has grown from a small quarterly publication, initially viewed with suspicion by the prison service, to become a 54-page, self-financing monthly, with a truly national circulation of 60,000 – lively, challenging, entertaining and respected by everyone with anything to do with prisons. Its indispensability is a testament not just to the brilliance of Eric’s founding vision, but also to the 25 years of hard and sustained work he has given unstintingly to put that vision into practice.”

2014 Winners

2014 Longford Prize: The Forgiveness Project
2014 Lifetime Achievement Award: New Horizon

The judges’ citations:

“Having highly commended The Forgiveness Project in 2007, the judges this year award it the Longford Prize to salute the development of its work, especially its innovative and challenging Restore offender intervention programme.  This is having a real and proven impact on changing how those prisoners who take part in jails around the country think about themselves and their crime.  The Forgiveness Project, now in its tenth year, lives out in a practical, effective way the core belief of Lord Longford in every individual’s potential for rehabilitation.  It is making a significant contribution to reducing reoffending as well as having a wider impact in creating a more positive commitment in our criminal justice system to restorative justice”.

The judges also highly commended Mona Morrison of the St Giles Trust and Product of Prison, a small Dutch NGO with prisoners in Uganda. 

“Usually reserved for an individual, this year the judges recognise the achievements and on-going work of the New Horizon Youth Centre in north London, founded by Lord Longford in 1968.  Over five decades, this drop-in day centre has maintained an unwavering focus on needy, homeless, alienated and desperate young people.  They can count on it, when they can count on no-one else. Its doors are always open, its welcome is always warm, and its programmes continue to evolve to answer every new challenge, including its current highly successful Creating Positive Futures project”.

2013 Winners

2013 Longford Prize: Prison Radio Association
2013 Lifetime Achievement Award: the Revd Paul Cowley

The judges’ citations:

“In 2006, the Longford Prize judges welcomed the arrival of the Prison Radio Association with a highly commended award for its founder, Roma Hooper.  This year we are delighted to award PRA our main prize in recognition of how it has grown into a truly national service, reaching 82 per cent of all prisoners in the jails where it operates with its mix of entertainment, information and education.  Working in the high-tech world of digital broadcasting, it provides training for inmates, up-to-the-minute skills that will serve them well in the workplace, and inspiration.  A model of transforming rehabilitation, it is its very own rehabilitation revolution.”

The judges also highly commended the Zahid Mubarek Trust, which challenges racism in our prisons, especially against Muslims.

“After serving a prison sentence as a young man, Paul Cowley has gone on, first through the army and later after ordination in the Church of England, to spend 20 years helping others who have walked the same path to rebuild their lives.  He has founded two charities – Caring for Ex-Offenders and, more recently, the William Wilberforce Trust – which tackle poverty, deprivation and the marginalisation of the vulnerable.  His story, one of those who nominated him writes, ‘is one of ruin to right living, of rejection to robustness, of shaken value to beyond value.  Paul is one who has and does, a man whose life really matters’.”

2012 Winners

2012 Longford Prize: Prisoners’ Advice Service
2012 Lifetime Achievement Award: Paul Cavadino

The judges’ citations:

The Prisoners’ Advice Service has a long, distinguished and unique track record in providing legal advice, standing up for the rights of prisoners, and ensuring proper judicial scrutiny of what goes on behind bars.  This courageous, persistent and independent organisation is an unsung national treasure, and plays a role that, we judges believe, is ever more vital at a time when legal aid is being cut.”

The judges also highly commended Clean Break Theatre Company.

Paul Cavadino has, over four decades, including through his work at NACRO, played a peerless role as a leading expert on criminal justice and prisons, always accurate and independent of political or sectional bias.  His influence in Westminster, Whitehall and beyond over policy on sentencing, prison conditions and rehabilitation has made a practical difference to the lives of many thousands of our most vulnerable citizens.”

2011 Prize Winners

2011 Longford Prize: The Clink
2011 Lifetime Achievement Award: David Brown

The judges’ citations:

The Clink provides genuinely meaningful work for prisoners at its restaurant at HMP High Down and teaches them skills that secure them jobs on release.  It is held up by the judges as a beacon, showing the sort of practical, effective rehabilitation that can be achieved when inspiring leaders such as the Clink’s Alberto Crisci are given the full support and encouragement of brave prison governors like Peter Dawson.  The judges urge strongly that the good practice of the Clink continues to thrive in the long-term at High Down, and that its outstanding success be replicated throughout the prison system.”

The judges also highly commended the Jimmy Mizen Foundation, established by Barry and Margaret Mizen after the murder of their son, and Untapped Resource, a community-based organisation from Mansfield.

“After a long career as a probation officer, David Brown joined the Inside Out Trust, as a regional coordinator of its prison workshops, where old bicycles, wheelchairs and other equipment were restored and given to good causes worldwide. When that charity folded in 2007, he decided, although at retirement age, to risk his own savings to establish the Margaret Carey Foundation in order to keep these highly valued workshops open, giving prisoners a chance to put something back into society.”

2010 Winners

2010 Longford Prize: Circles UK
2010 Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Kilgarriff

The judges’ citations:

“We recognise Circles UK‘s courage, commitment and innovation in working, on their release from prison, with sex offenders, one of the most marginalised groups in our society. Circles UK brings together voluntary and statutory partners, including victims’ groups, in a constructive alternative response which provides a much greater opportunity for preventing further crime, rehabilitating the offender, and achieving safer communities for us all.”

The judges highly commended the charity Just for Kids Law.

Peter Kilgarriff has had a profound impact on the whole prison reform sector over many years; by what he has done as a funder prepared to take risks in supporting new approaches to rehabilitation; by what he has inspired others to do in the same vein; and by his success in bringing organisations together so that the sum of their impact is greater than the total of their parts.”

2009 Winners

2009 Longford Prize: Inquest

The judges’ citation:

“We award the 2009 Longford Prize to Inquest for its remarkable perseverance, personal commitment and courage in an area too often under-investigated by the public authorities, and especially for its support for the families of those who have taken their own lives while in the care of the state.”

The judges highly commended KeyRing’s Working for Justice Group, which champions fairer treatment for people with learning difficulties and disabilities in the criminal justice system, and Junior Smart and the SOS Gangs Project.

2008 Winners

2008 Longford Prize: HMP Grendon
2008 Lifetime Achievement Award: Lucy Gampell

The judges’ citations:

“The judges have taken the unusual step of awarding the Longford Prize to a whole prison. We do so to highlight our belief that the regime at Grendon, run on therapeutic lines as a community with the support of staff and prisoners alike, represents a beacon of hope for the Prison Service because of its proven track record in cutting reoffending and promoting the principles of rehabilitation.”

“As director of Action for Prisoners’ Families until December 2008, Lucy Gampell has for 15 years been responsible for raising the profile and improving the treatment of prisoners’ families.”

2007 Winners

2007 Longford Prize: Prisoners Abroad
2007 Lifetime Achievement Award: Sir Louis Blom-Cooper

The judges’ citations:

“The judges wish to highlight 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 judges also highly commended The Forgiveness Project and Joe Baden and the Open Book Project, which encourages young ex-prisoners into higher education.

“We make this Lifetime Award to the leading barrister and campaigner Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC in honour of his outstanding contribution to the cause of prison reform over many decades.”

2006 Winners

2006 Longford Prize: Hibiscus

The judges’ citation:

“With this award, we make special mention of Hibiscus‘s educational campaigns in Jamaica and Nigeria, which warn women of the long prison sentences that face them if they agree to travel to the UK as ‘drug mules’. This work has resulted in a sharp drop in such arrests at UK points of entry. The judges were impressed by the charity’s ability to tackle both the immediate problems of female foreign national prisoners and the longer term causes of their offending behaviour.”

The judges also highly commended: Chance UK, a charity offering mentoring to 5-11 year olds who have been judged to be in danger of slipping into criminal behaviour; Roma Hooper, for her pioneering work at Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution and with the Prison Radio Association; and Lucie Russell and Smart Justice, for its highly effective campaign in favour of alternatives to custodial sentences and its ability to engage a popular audience in such issues.

2005 Winners

2005 Longford Prize: Steve Taylor

The judges’ citation:

“We recognise the work of Steve Taylor as director of the Forum on Prisoners’ Education in working to promote rehabilitation, reintegration of ex-offenders and thereby build a better society.”

The judges highly commended Marian Liebmann from Bristol, for a life long commitment to penal reform that had seen her leading pioneering initiatives in art therapy, mediation and restorative justice; and the late Liz Hoyle of Keighley in Yorkshire who founded and ran single-handedly the Longford Writers, a network linking prisoners across the globe who found some release in writing poetry. 

2004 Winners

2004 Longford Prize: Christopher Morgan (pictured above receiving his prize from Desmond Tutu) and The Shannon Trust

The judges’ citation:

“We praise the work of volunteers from The Shannon Trust, established by Christopher Morgan in 1997, who go into prisons to train literate prisoners to teach fellow inmates who have problems reading and writing.  ‘I have seen no-hopers and self harmers turn into smart, alert prisoners with self-esteem because of this scheme’, one prison governor has written to us.”

The judges also highly commended: Clive Hopwood from Welshpool, founder of the Writers in Prison network; Karen Whitehouse, from Brixton, south London, for her work through the charity Adfam with prisoners’ families and in tackling the links between drugs and criminality; Fine Cell Work, a charity which works with male and female prisoners to produce highly intricate pieces of needlework which are sold with proceeds going to the prisoners to ease their reintegration into society on release; and Thames Valley Circles of Support and Accountability, a community-based organisation in the Oxford and Bucks region that supports sex-offenders when they are released from prison.  

2003 Winners

2003 Longford Prize: Barbara Tudor

The judges’ citation:

Barbara Tudor was nominated by an ex-prison governor and seconded by a former Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, and two victims of crimes who had benefited from her work on restorative justice.  In commending her achievements, we believe her work points a constructive way forward in tackling crime, and represents the Probation Service at its very best.”

The judges highly commended: Shirl Marshall, founder of Consequences which helps rehabilitate sex offenders in the community; the Inside Out Trust, a charity based in Hurstpierpoint in Sussex which gives prisoners worthwhile work to reconnect them with the world outside; and Jean Wynne, a Probation Officer at the Leeds Victim and Offender Unit, who through her work, research and publications has promoted the use of mediation and restorative justice in the criminal justice system.

2002 Winners

2002 Longford Prize: Audrey Edwards

The judges’ citation:

“On November 27 1994 Audrey Edwards’s mentally-ill son, Christopher, was murdered by his cellmate, a paranoid schizophrenic, in Chelmsford Prison. Audrey and her husband Paul began a quest to find out what happened to him that has developed into a campaign to improve mental health care for offenders.  The judges were greatly impressed by the courage with which Audrey Edwards had moved forward from personal tragedy to focus public attention on mental health and prisons.”

The judges also highly-commended: Camilla Batmangelidjh who founded Kids Co; Chris Tchaikovsky and the group she founded Women in Prison; and Kalayaan, a small organisation working for justice for migrant domestic workers in this country.