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 to celebrate those, like him, who believed that prisons and what goes on in them should be a matter of national concern – and shame.

Who is eligible?

Have you read an article or book in the past 12 months that has changed your view about prisons, or altered the public conversation about their purpose? Perhaps you’ve seen a drama, watched or listened to a documentary, or heard a persuasive speaker challenging stereotypes of prisoners? Help us bring them to a wider audience by putting them and their work forward for the annual Kevin Pakenham Award.

Our 2021 Winner

The first Kevin Pakenham Prize was presented at the 2021 Longford Lecture to the scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern (pictured right receiving his award) for his 2021  BBC 1 drama, Time, set in a prison and watched by 20 million viewers. “It did more,” the judges said, “than anything we can remember to engage a wide audience about the reality of prison.”

“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