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16 How. J. Penology & Crime Prevention iii (1977-1978)

handle is hein.journals/hjcj16 and id is 1 raw text is: 













                             Editorial









1777 to 1977
   This issue of the Journal has a specially historical flavour, and rightly so.
For  it was just two hundred years ago that John Howard,  the man  from
whom   the League and this Journal derive their title, published his monumen-
tal and momentous  first edition of The State of the Prisons in England and
Wales. The League  has convened an International Conference at Canterbury
from June  27-30 1977  to celebrate the Bicentenary, and we trust that this
will be a great and deserved success. In the meantime we are glad to mark the
occasion by publishing an article which makes a fresh assessment of John
Howard's work  and importance, and also by including book reviews concern-
ing the work of Howard  and of his lesser-known disciple, Sir George Onesi-
phorus Paul of Gloucestershire.
   But we  cannot and should not dwell solely in the past. There are many
urgent difficulties in the penal systems of the present day, as we are remin-
ded in other articles in this issue-the problems, for example of the sentencing
tariff, of adequately compensating victims, of policy for vagrancy, of how
one actually achieves penal reform in a given political-context.
   On April 5th 1977, the exact bicentenary date of publication of The State
of the Prisons, the Howard League expressed both its awareness of the past
and its urgent concern for the present. Following in Howard's own footsteps,
it lobbied the House of Commons, pointing out that 'our prisons are in crisis
. . . their population has exceeded 42,000 and their disciplinary procedures
urgently need reform to safeguard both inmates and staff'. No better use of
this editorial column  could be  made  than by  reproducing the Howard
League's briefing on that occasion. We do so not just as a matter of historical
record, but as an expression of our great concern at the State of the Prisons in
1977.

        WHAT'S   WRONG                    WHAT   SHOULD   BE  DONE
1) Physical conditions and  over-
   crowding
a) Nearly 42,000 prisoners are kept   We  press for a substantial reduction
   in 36,000 places in England &      in the length of most prison senten-
   Wales with  some  prisons over-    ces and the transfer of resources to
   crowded by nearly 100%.             community  sanctions.
b) Living conditions are appalling     Enable more time to be spent out
   in many  older  prisons. Sanita-    of cells; ageing Victorian prisons to
   tion in most older prison cells    be  renovated and eventually recon-
   consists of a pot or bucket.        structed.

                                   iii

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