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 (President)

Andrew is Emeritus Professor of Prison Studies at King's College London where his specialist research interests are human rights in the penal context, international prison reform, prison management and alternatives to prison. Through his work in the International Centre for Prison Studies he has led research and project activities to develop a body of knowledge, which is based on international human rights covenants and standards, about the principles on which the use of imprisonment should be based and which can be used as a sound basis for policies on prison issues. 

His work involves liaising with governments around the world on prison reform. He advises not only the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Council of Europe, but several countries and states, including Kazakhstan, Chile, Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority.

Previously he worked for 25 years at a senior level in the UK prison services. He was Governor of Greenock, Peterhead and Shotts Prisons in Scotland and Governor of Brixton Prison in London.

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 (Convenor)

Partner in Capital Defence Lawyers, Leith; Solicitor-advocate (criminal only): Member of Council of Justice (London based Human Rights organisation); Associate Member of the Scottish Consortium on Crime & Criminal Justice.

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.

Craig Murray

LL.B (Hons). LL.M, Dip.F.M.S. Advocate, Compass Chambers, Edinburgh. Member of the Health and Safety Lawyers’ Association; Associate Member of the Scottish Consortium on Crime and Criminal Justice

Briege Nugent

Briege is currently undertaking a full time PhD at the University of Edinburgh. The project involves observational and interview-based research with Includem workers and young adults as they negotiate the process of disengagement from reliance upon the organisation's intensive support services. 

From 2006 to 2008 she worked as a researcher in the Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre at the University of Edinburgh and during this time played a key role on the evaluation of the 'Routes out of Prison' project. Since 2008 she has been working as an independent criminologist and has participated in a wide variety of literature reviews and evaluations including the evaluation of Circle, Moving On, Theatre Nemo and Artlink Central. 

Prof Richard Sparks (Vice Convenor)

Professor of Criminology, School of Law, University of Edinburgh and Co-Director Scottish Centre for Crime and 
Justice Research: Associate Member of the Scottish Consortium on Crime  & Criminal Justice.

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.

Pete White 

Coordinator Positive Prisons? Positive Futures....an organisation which works with people newly release from prisons and aim to support them in re-establishing their citizenship within their own community.

Sue Moody

Sue Moody has been a researcher in the Criminological Research Branch of the Central Research Unit in the Scottish Office from 1975-1985. Since then she has been the Director of Victim Support Scotland, Senior Lecturer, Law Faculty, Dundee University and is currently a member of the Scottish Sentencing Council and Professional Adviser-work with Action for Children (child neglect), Scottish Government (survivors of institutional child abuse).