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12 How. J. Penology & Crime Prevention 1 (1966-1969)

handle is hein.journals/hjcj12 and id is 1 raw text is: 












                             EDITORIAL
Howard  League-           In 1866, a number of people, concerned with a better
the first hundred years   and more  humane  treatment of offenders and with
                      the prevention of crime,  formed  a small  association
which  they named  after John Howard, the prison reformer.  This small body
merged,  in 1921, with the Penal Reform  League  to produce a hardly  larger
organisation which broadly retained the aims of the parent body, as well as the
name  Howard,  and emerged  as the Howard League for Penal Reform.
     1966, therefore, marks the hundredth birthday of a voluntary organisation
which, some  would  say, was dedicated to officious meddling, others to main-
taining civilised standards in our attitudes to crime and criminals, and yet others,
to advocating a deeper understanding of the issues involved and a greater effective-
ness in the application of modern concepts in treatment and prevention.
    No  doubt  all three ways of perceiving the Howard League's activities have
justice in them.  Meddling is very important.  Whether  done noisily or dis-
creetly, the freedom to meddle, persuade, cajole, suggest and generally to question
the affairs of government departments is a basic democratic liberty. Affirming
or reaffirming civilised standards is hardly less vital. Nowhere, but nowhere-
pace  our friends in the penal systems the world over-   can  truly civilised
standards be said to have been achieved completely.
     As for a deeper understanding of the issues involved and a greater effective-
ness in the application of modern concepts in treatment and prevention, we are
a long way from  achieving these objectives. But because the issues are so com-
plex, they require a greater professionalism in a body such as the Howard League.
The  challenge of the years to come will be whether the League will be able to
continue to formulate proposals on social policy based not just on hunches but
on  sound criminological research and clinical information.
     Some  idea of the nature of the issues as they used to be and as they are now
will be apparent  in the centenary symposium  Changing  Concepts  of Crime
and  its Treatment which will be published during the course of this year by
Pergamon   Press. In this, eight distinguished criminologists and penal admini-
strators trace the development of theory and practice and focus on some problems
of today.  Six of them are from this country but, true to the international links
of the Howard   League, two  are from abroad, one from the United States and
one from  Belgium.
     In addition, the League, together with the Institute for the Study and
Treatment   of Delinquency  and with  the British Society of Criminology, is
organising a British Congress on Crime. The purpose of this is to bring together
three groups of people; those who teach, or undertake research in, criminology,
sociology, psychiatry, social administration, psycho-analysis, law and case-work;
those who  seek to apply the principles that are being discovered and -taught;


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