Jimmy McGovern Panel Event Great Success

On Thursday 9th November, Prisoners’ Advice Service was delighted to host a panel discussion at Doughty Street Chambers, focusing on the telling of prisoner stories.

The panel featured Time writers Jimmy McGovern and Helen Black, as well as former PAS Co-Director Deborah Russo, who shared her experience of dramatising her recent Criminology PHD research. The panel discussed public interest in prisoner stories, the challenges involved in producing an authentic script and the role of TV in exposing the realities of prison life to a mass audience.

The event was moderated by former PAS Chair of the Trustees, Martine Lignon, who recently stepped down from the role after 10 years. She was thanked at the event close for her dedication to PAS by the charity’s Director, Lubia Begum-Rob.

Feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive so far, with one guest saying: ‘I just wanted to say thank you for organising last night’s event. It was so interesting and informative and we chatted with some great people afterwards, too.’

If you would like to watch a recording of the event, you can do so here.

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PAS Annual Lecture Date Announced

We are delighted to confirm that the PAS Annual Lecture will be held at Doughty Street Chambers on Thursday 9th November.

The evening will take as its focus telling prisoners stories through different media, and will feature panellists, Emmy winner, Jimmy McGovern, and Bafta nominee, Helen Black, who have co-written the second series of BBC prison drama, Time.  Former PAS Co-Director, Deborah Russo will also join the panel to reflect on her experience dramatising her recent PHD research.

The panel will explore the value and complexities of sharing prisoner stories, particularly given growing public interest in the Criminal Justice Sector.

The event is free to attend and drinks and canapes will be provided.

If you are interested in attending, please email list@prisonersadvice.org.uk.

We are hugely grateful to Doughty Street Chambers for making this event possible.

Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS
Date: Thursday 9th November
Time: 6-9pm

PAS Appoints New Chair of the Board of Trustees

PAS has appointed a new Chair of the Board of Trustees after current post-holder, Martine Lignon, made the decision to step down after 10 years in the role.

New Chair, Dominique Webb, who joined PAS as a Trustee in December 2019, will take up the role formally on the 19th October.

Dominique is currently Head of Programmes for GamCare, the leading provider of advice and support for anyone affected by gambling. Having begun her career in advice work with the Citizens’ Advice network, Dominique subsequently worked in gender policy for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She spent eight years as a board member of Merseyside Probation Trust, and two years as Director of Operations at Women in Prison.  Dominique believes that providing accurate and independent information and support is vital in enabling people to exercise their rights, especially in the complex and restrictive prison environment. We wish her all the best in her new role.

We also thank Martine for her many years of service, and look forward to continuing to work alongside her as she resumes her work with PAS as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Remembering Eric Allison: The Return of PAS Panel Discussion

PAS is delighted to announce the return of its annual Panel Discussion on 19 April at 6pm, after an absence of four years!

The occasion will honour the memory of a dear friend and colleague of PAS, and will take as its title, “Remembering Eric Allison: Don’t Mourn, Mobilise!

At the event, a panel of speakers will share their stories of fighting alongside Eric to ‘shine a light’ on the injustice of imprisonment and we will raise a glass in his honour.

Drinks will be served from 6pm, with the panel beginning at 6.30pm, at the London offices of Reed Smith, to whom PAS is most grateful.

To reserve a place, please send your name and e-mail address to list@prisonersadvice.org.uk.

Looking forward to seeing you there!



Interested in Human Rights? Prisoners’ Advice Service, the charity providing legal advice and support to adult prisoners across England and Wales, is recruiting a Fundraising and Communications Officer to work part-time in its London office with some hybrid working possible.

Alongside the Head of Fundraising and Communications, you will be responsible for generating much of PAS’ income from a mix of trusts and foundations, wealthy individuals, corporate law firms and fundraising events.  You will be responsible for working with project staff to develop tailored and persuasive applications, communicating our work to both cold and warm prospects.

Further details and application materials can be found on our Vacancies Page

David Ramsbotham 1934-2022

We are sad to learn of the passing of Lord Ramsbotham. His fearless advocacy for prison reform, combined with his wit and enormous compassion, will be missed.

We were very proud when he agreed to be PAS’s first patron and grateful for all of the support he gave to us.

He was truly a fine public servant. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

Beloved Friend of PAS, Eric Allison, Dies at 79

PAS Director, Lubia Begum-Rob, pays warm tribute to former PAS trustee, Eric Allison, who has died at the age of 79.

In a heartfelt tribute to Eric, written earlier today, Lubia says, “A powerful voice for prisoners’ rights in this country is now silent”.

Eric began offending at a very young age and spent a total of 16 years in prison, quickly becoming concerned about abuses he witnessed within the system. In 1995, Eric co-authored ‘Strangeways 1990: A Serious Disturbance’ on the causes of the 1990 prison riots. From 2003, he wrote for The Guardian as Prisons Correspondent, which won him the Amnesty International Prize for Investigative Journalism in 2013.  Eric was a PAS trustee from August 2014 until April 2020.

Read Lubia’s fond obituary of Eric in full here.

PAS Annual Lecture 2022 Audio

PAS’ Annual Lecture series returned this July, when  Matthew Evans, Director of The AIRE Centre, delivered a talk on Human Rights.   The audio of the event is available to listen to below.

Thank you to Reed Smith for generously supporting this event.

PAS Boycotts Parole Board User Group

The Association of Prison Lawyers, along with PAS, The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group, are boycotting the next Parole Board Users’ Group (PBUG).

As part of the recent Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Criminal Legal Aid Review, Sir Christopher Bellamy concluded that the sector needed a minimum of £135m every year to reverse what he described as ‘years of neglect’. Sir Bellamy specifically addressed the importance of prison law in his review and recommended that the proposed increase should also apply to this area of work. Criminal law barristers are currently undertaking action as a result of the Government’s failure to properly implement the recommendations.  But prison lawyers who undertake many thousands of parole hearings each year will not receive any increase at all in rates of pay, not even the increases being applied to all other areas of work that fall under the Legal Aid Agency’s crime contract. The exclusion of prison work from the planned increases in legal aid rates demonstrates at best, a total lack of understanding of the work itself and at worst, a deliberate decision to underfund this vital part of the criminal justice system.

We are seeking a meeting with the Justice Secretary in the absence of a current legal aid Minister.

Read the letter sent to PBUG by the four organisations here.

PAS Annual Lecture, Wednesday 20th July

PAS’ Annual Lecture series returns with an person event on Wednesday, 20th July.

Matthew Evans, Director of The AIRE Centre, will deliver the lecture, which will take as its topic Human Rights. Drinks will be served before and after the event.

When: Wednesday 20th July, 6pm-9pm
Where: Reed Smith, Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2RS
RSVP: If you would like to attend please email list@prisonersadvice.org.uk to reserve a place.

The lecture will also be available on Zoom, if you would like to attend via Zoom please email list@prisonersadvice.org.uk and we will send the joining instructions.

Thank you to Reed Smith for generously supporting this event.

End of COVID-19 Restrictions in Prisons

On 9th May, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) announced that COVID-19 restrictions would end immediately forthwith in all prisons, which will move towards a more normalised approach to the virus.  We await further announcements on a new approach to testing within prisons and any other infection control measures. Read the letter from Phil Copple, Director General of Prisons, here.

PAS Submits Evidence to IPP Sentences Inquiry by Justice Select Committee

On Tuesday 23 November, the Justice Committee will begin taking oral evidence for its inquiry into Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences, with a session focused on the experiences of prisoners serving the sentences and their mental health. Though IPP sentences were abolished in 2012, there are still more than 3,000 people currently in prison serving the sentence. The indeterminate nature of the sentence means prisoners do not know when they will be released.

PAS has, today, submitted written evidence to the Select Committee. Read PAS’ submission here.