An Urgent Plea from Howard League Scotland Committee

An Urgent Plea from Howard League Scotland Committee

Dear Members and Supporters,

This is an urgent plea for your help in assisting Howard League Scotland to continue its important work in campaigning for an improved penal system in Scotland.

We are a small charity that is fiercely independent of government funding, and we have operated exclusively in Scotland since 1979, but without your help we might not be able to do it for much longer. Without additional funding, we may be unable to continue our vital campaigning work beyond the end of the year.

Since Covid restrictions were introduced in March of last year, Howard League Scotland has continued to work tirelessly to shine a light on what’s been happening in the criminal justice system, and inside Scotland’s prisons. Here’s just a flavour of what we’ve been doing:

  • we’ve continued to press for the prison population to be reduced, now that it’s back to 92% of its pre-pandemic level and 6 out of 15 prisons are still over-capacity
  • we’ve worked with partner organisations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Consortium Scotland to raise awareness of prison conditions and to push for this to be included as part of a public inquiry into the effects of COVID-19
  • we’ve raised questions in Parliament about increasing rates of remand, particularly amongst children
  • we’ve analysed and drawn attention to human rights concerns in HMIPS Liaison Visit inspections, meeting regularly with HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland
  • we’ve examined legislation and formally questioned the Scottish Government’s lack of scrutiny in passing a negative instrument to extend prison regime restrictions
  • we’ve supported calls for a reduction in the outstanding number of unpaid work hours under existing Community Payback Orders, whilst raising concerns to the Justice Committee as to the fairness and validity of the exclusions
  • we’ve submitted Freedom of Information requests to ascertain waiting list lengths for offender behaviour programmes which are instrumental to progression, and have been invited to input into a forthcoming thematic review
  • we’ve written articles on prisoner voting and on children being held in police custody.

We’ve achieved all of this thanks to the ongoing efforts of a core team of volunteer Executive Committee members, and a sole part-time contracted Policy and Public Affairs Adviser, without whose expert work we would be unable to make an impact.  

We will, of course, keep up the good work as long as we can, but we are calling on all of our members and supporters to come together as a community and do whatever they can to help to secure our immediate future.

There are many ways to show your support for the continuation of our work. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • make a one-off donation of whatever amount you might be able to afford 
  • if you’re not already a member, please consider joining us. Full individual membership is only £20 per year, and discounted rates are available for student, household and lifetime members. It is quick and easy to join us online
  • if your employer or organisation is considering its support for local charities in the coming year, please consider nominating Howard League Scotland as a beneficiary of any fundraising activities. Corporate membership is also available as a simple way to provide ongoing support
  • alternatively, maybe you could do some fundraising on our behalf? Are you planning a sponsored run? Some wild swimming? An online quiz night? If so, please consider donating the proceeds to Howard League Scotland
  • perhaps you’re a professional fundraiser who could donate some of your time and expertise to help us? Or perhaps you know someone else who could do so?
  • many organisations and online platforms (such as Amazon Smile) allow customers to donate a portion of spending to nominated charities. Maybe you could choose to nominate Howard League Scotland at no extra cost to you? 
  • whatever else you do, please also spread the word so that we can reach as many people as possible who may be interested in supporting our work. If you would like to share your fundraising activities or any other messages of support, and perhaps inspire others to get involved, you can find and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.  We would love to hear from you!

Alternatively, if you would like to share any thoughts or ideas privately, please feel free to contact our Treasurer:

As always, we thank you for your continued support.

Howard League Scotland Committee.