Who We Are

Who We Are


John Scott QC

Vice Convenor

Professor Richard Sparks


Dinah Aitken


Hugh Craig FCCA

Communication Secretary

Alan Mairs

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Professor Andrew Coyle CMG (President)

Andrew is Emeritus Professor of Prison Studies in the University of London and a Fellow of King’s College London. He was formerly Professor of Prison Studies in King’s College London and a visiting Professor in the Centre for Human Rights in the University of Essex. Previously he was Governor of Greenock, Peterhead and Shotts Prisons and of Brixton Prison in London.

Between 2009 and 2014 he was a member of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland and was also a member of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council.

He has been an adviser to several United Nations and Council of Europe bodies and is currently a member of the Advisory Board for the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

Board Members:

Dinah Aitken (Secretary)

Dinah is a solicitor (now non-practising) who spent 17 years in practice as well as 10 years in the voluntary sector and in local government advising on the rights of children and young people with additional support needs, and in mental health. Associate member, formerly Secretary, of the Scottish Consortium on Crime and Criminal Justice, and currently a full-time PhD student at University of Edinburgh School of Law researching how young people experience the imprisonment of a family member.

John Scott QC Solicitor Advocate (Convenor)

Partner in Capital Defence Lawyers, Leith; Solicitor advocate (criminal only): Solicitor Member of the Scottish Sentencing Council; Associate Member of the Scottish Consortium on Crime & Criminal Justice; President of the Society of Solicitor Advocates

Lucy Blackburn

A senior civil servant in the Scottish Government until 2011. She was head of the Reducing Reoffending Division between 2004 and 2006, with responsibility for legislation on the management of offenders and a review of prison visiting committees, among other things. She also led on arrangements for the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999. She was an executive member of the board of Historic Scotland between 2006 and 2011. She is now freelance, with a small part-time role as co-coordinator for the Scottish Policy Innovation Forum.

Louise Brangan

Louise has worked for the Irish Penal Reform Trust and was a former researcher for the Howard League Scotland. She has been a Fulbright scholar at the Center for Law and Society, Berkeley and is currently completing her doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh, which compares prison and political culture in Ireland and Scotland from 1970.

Irene Kitson FCIPD

Justice of the Peace; Member of Justices Training and Appraisal Committee; Member of the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal; Consultant in Employment and Human Resource Management; Member of the Employment Tribunal and former Member of the Parole Board Scotland.

Alan Mairs (Communications Secretary)

Alan is the Communications Officer at community justice voluntary organisation, Sacro.

Prof Richard Sparks (Vice Convenor)

Professor of Criminology, School of Law, University of Edinburgh.  Associate Member of the Scottish Consortium on Crime  & Criminal Justice. From 2006-16 Richard was Co-Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, and from 2014-17 was Head of the School of Edinburgh Law School. Richard's current research has two main strands, namely, i) the relationships between policies, discourses and practices of crime control and punishment and democratic politics; and ii) the past, present and future of imprisonment in these islands.

Miranda Alcock

Miranda Alcock has been a senior manager in Audit Scotland since 2001. Most recently, she was Audit Scotland’s policy lead for justice with overall responsibility for delivering national performance audits on justice-related topics, including An overview of Scotland’s criminal justice system (2011), Reducing reoffending in Scotland (2012) and Police reform: progress update 2013.

Sue Moody

Sue Moody's first career was as a criminal justice researcher  Since then she has been the Director of Victim Support Scotland, senior lecturer in the Law Faculty at Dundee University and the Head of victim services and policy for COPFS.  She also advised the Scottish Government in relation to redress for survivors of child abuse in care. She is now retired and is currently a member of the Scottish Sentencing Council. 

Justina Murray

Justina Murray joined the Board of Howard League Scotland in September 2017. She is currently CEO of Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs, a role she took up in June 2017 following seven years as Chief Officer of South West Scotland Community Justice Authority. Prior to this Justina held roles in community planning, public policy, equal employment opportunities and research in Scotland and New Zealand. She lives in West Kilbride in North Ayrshire.