Who We Are

Who We Are


John Scott QC

Vice Convenor

Professor Richard Sparks


Dinah Aitken


Hugh Craig FCCA

Communication Secretary

Alan Mairs

To contact Howard League Scotland about press, policy or public affairs, please use the form or ring Lisa Mackenzie on 078 3153 6255. Please note that Lisa Mackenzie works 2.5 days per week. However, she will endeavour to respond to your query as soon as she is able.

Policy and Public Affairs Adviser:  Lisa Mackenzie 

Board Members:

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.

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. 

Alison McInnes OBE FRSA

Born in Ayrshire, Alison has lived in Aberdeenshire for over 30 years.

A respected former Member of the Scottish Parliament, Alison represented the North East of Scotland from 2007 – 2016, becoming renowned for her collegiate rather than partisan approach. During that time, she served on several committees, including the Parliament’s Justice Committee, the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee and the Parliamentary Bureau. As a member of the Justice Committee she championed wideranging reforms to the criminal justice system in Scotland. Reflecting her keen commitment to social reform, she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2008.

Prior to her election to Parliament, she served as a senior elected councillor on Aberdeenshire Council for over 15 years, leading on issues such as environment, transport and economic development.

She has extensive experience of acting as an advocate for community groups and representing the interests of individuals with diverse and often complex needs, brings a wealth of experience of Board and committee membership and extensive knowledge of the governance of Scotland and its public and third sectors.

She was awarded an OBE for public and political service in 2013.