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Championing the champions of prison reform

Kevin Pakenham (pictured above) took on the mantle of his father, the prison reformer Frank Longford, when he became the founding chair of The Longford Trust in 2002. Over 18 years, with unflagging energy and determination, until his sudden death in the summer of 2020, he worked to make sure that the Trust supported those who had been in prison towards a better future, while at the same time – especially through his active participation in our annual Longford Lecture – pushing prisons, prisoners and prison reform up the public agenda. In his memory, with the support of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, we have established an annual Kevin Pakenham Prize, awarded at our annual lecture by Kevin’s wife, the ITN journalist Ronke Phillips, to celebrate those, like him, who believed that prisons and what goes on in them should be a matter of national concern – and shame. Winners include in 2021 the screenwriter Jimmy McGovern (see picture below) and (in 2022) the business leader James Timpson.

Who is eligible?

Have you read an article or book in this year that has changed your view about prisons, or altered the public conversation? Perhaps you’ve seen a drama, watched or listened to a documentary, or heard a speaker challenging stereotypes of prisoners?  Please let us know.

Our 2023 Winner

The Kevin Pakenham Prize went to broadcaster Jon Snow (right) for his tireless support since 1968 of prison reform as chair of both New Horizon and the Prison Reform Trust, and as a patron/trustee of National Prison Radio, Prisoners’ Abroad, Reprieve, Justice Defenders and the Longford Trust.

“an exceptional man and promoter of the Longford Trust’s message of hope, compassion and fresh starts..” Harriet Sergeant, friend of Kevin Pakenham, writer and anti-racism campaigner