Quakers in the World

Quakers in the World

Influential Quakers in crime and Justice in the UK in recent times (2)

From the early part of the 20th century, there has been a resurgence of Quaker input into criminal justice systems in the UK.  The nine featured here are in chronological order by date of birth. Another article features five earlier ones.

Bob Johnson (1942- ) is a former GP and latterly a psychiatrist, working with disturbed and dangerous prisoners, in Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight, UK. He has researched the  impact of different approaches, and believes that all such prisoners can be reached, and that none of them is untreatable. He challenges much current practice on account of this.

Tim Newell (1942-  ) was a prison governor for 38 years, concluding with ten years at Grendon, a unique therapeutic community prison for serious offenders.  He was central to the development of Circles of Support and Accountability in Britain. He set out his vision for the criminal justice system in the 2000 Swarthmore lecture, Forgiving Justice.  In retirement he established ‘Escaping Victimhood’ which helps victims of serious crime to manage their grief and trauma.

Venetia Caine (1945 - ) is a former civil servant, probation officer and manager, and teacher. She started Quakers in Criminal Justice, an informal network of practitioners in the UK. QICJ has an annual conference and a newsletter. Members include Quaker prison chaplains, probation officers, magistrates, prison governors, prison visitors, solicitors, barristers, judges, prison psychologists, psychiatrists, ex-offenders, members of boards of visitors, police officers, victim support workers, academics and others.

Marian Liebmann (1942 - ) has worked in the criminal justice field for nearly 40 years, with ex-offenders, victims of crime, and offenders on probation. She is an experienced AVP facilitator, a professional mediator, and an expert on restorative justice.  She has played a key part in Quaker representations to the UN in these areas.   She has written several books about restorative justice, art therapy and offending.

Roger Cullen (1946 - ) was a probation officer in Oxfordshire for 10 years, and then founding coordinator for Oxfordshire Family Mediation. He set up restorative justice in a Home Office funded youth justice programme in Milton Keynes. He later led the piloting of Referral Orders in the work of the Oxfordshire Youth Offending Team, a major restorative initiative, and established the process as mainstream. From 2001-2010 he worked at the Youth Justice Board, leading on the rollout and development of Referral Orders and Restorative Justice generally.

Marian Partington (1948 - ) is known for her involvement with the Forgiveness Project. Her sister Lucy disappeared on her way home in 1973, and 20 years later Marian learned that Lucy had been a victim of the serial killers Frederick and Rosemary West. Marian has sought to be able to forgive. She sees the way forward as learning to understand what happened first. She has written Salvaging the Sacred and If you Sit Very Still about her experience.  Her example inspires others.

Mike Nellis (1952 - ) is an academic criminologist, and a former social worker. He was a leader in probation training with special interests in arts in criminal justice and in electronic tagging. In 1997 he was a Joseph Rowntree fellow: his topic was "Revitalising Penal Reform as a Concern in the Society of Friends". He developed the important concept of community justice.  This linked three ideas - community safety, restorative justice and Quakers’ longstanding hostility to custody.  He is Professor Emeritus of Criminal and Community Justice, Strathclyde University.

Kimmett Edgar (1954 - ) is head of research at the Prison Reform Trust, a charity that is particularly concerned with the potential for punishments in the community, rather than in prisons, wherever feasible.  Prior to that he was a senior research officer at the University of Oxford Centre for Criminological Research. He has written extensively on many topics, such as prison councils and race equality. In 2008 he contributed to the Prison Service’s Race Review, with an investigation of the complaints process. He has been a Quaker Representative to the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and is a former chair of AVP UK.

Rachel Brett has been the Human Rights representative at the Quaker UN Office (QUNO) in Geneva since 1993, and has done significant work on aspects of criminal justice. Rachel examined how prison regimes impact on women in ways that differ from the typical effects on men. Particular issues for women were abuse and childcare. Children suffer if imprisoned with their mothers, and they suffer if separated from them.  The rights of such children have been a major thread in this work. In 2010, informed by this work, the UN approved new standards for the treatment of women prisoners and women offenders, known as the “Bangkok Rules”, and a handbook ‘Women in Prison’ was published. Rachel gave the 2012 Swarthmore lecture at Britain Yearly Meeting.

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