University of Plymouth Howard League

News and events

February 2014: 18 students from the Society visited CLINKS restaurant in Cardiff. This restaurant is run by prisoners. All of the chefs, waiters and other staff (except for the manager) are inmates of local prisons. Working in the restaurant strengthens their employability skills for getting a job upon release. 

After a delicious lunch in the restaurant followed by a talk by the manager about the background to CLINKS and its rehabilitative mission, the group visited the Huggard Centre for homeless people in Cardiff. The visit was educational and an eye-opener for both the guests and lecturers who attended. 

The talk focused on the role of the prisoners running the restaurant and the qualifications and skills they required. Many questions were asked and answered, which allowed those who attended, to understand the nature of the organisation and how it helps offenders settle back into the community upon release from prison. Overall, the visit to Clink restaurant was a good success. 

Around 3pm we travelled to the Huggard Centre. This is a homeless centre in Central Cardiff. On arrival, the residents were friendly and curious about our visit. 

We were welcomed and greeted by staff, who then after a briefing about the centre took us on a guided tour. We learnt about the wet and dry areas, and residents can drink when they like in the wet area which offers a place of safety.

December 2013: The Society held a Christmas gathering which was well attended by the Committee, staff from the Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies Programme and members of the society. A fun time was had by all.

November 2013: 16 students attended the National Howard League Student Conference in London. The theme of this year’s conference was desistance: supporting and motivating offenders to move away from crime. At the student conference we were privileged to get a real take on what happens inside prison and when released and what the constant issues are. The conference brought to our attention that one of the most beneficial packages would be work, training, employment and education. If people are serving long sentences inside they want something that they can do inside which will benefit their lives upon release. Many skills in prison aren't useful outside.

July 2013: 
Six students from the Howard League student society gave a presentation about their work over the last year and looked after a stall about the national Howard League at the Inspire Change Conference.

National Howard League Student Conference feedback:

"I am a first year criminology student. Firstly thank you so much for giving me this opportunity of going to the conference – I got a lot out of it. I enjoyed it because there were real people talking about their own experiences not just people talking to you about what they know and have read. It was a great but long day! However it is very rewarding." 

"I really enjoyed my day at the Howard League Students’ Conference. I found the experience really insightful and very interesting. Definitely worth the early start!"

"I found the conference very educational and interesting, due to the opportunity of listening to real life stories that are related to the course."


November 2013: Suleman Amad

Suleman Amad, who is the President of the Birmingham City University Howard League Student Society and a young advisor on the UR Boss Project, gave a very interesting talk about his work for the Howard League and his experiences as a former prisoner. The talk was well attended and the audience found it fascinating.

Suleman spent a year in a Young Offenders Institution. After being released, he studied Criminology at Birmingham City University and is currently in his final year. As part of the UR Boss project he has attended and spoken at various academic and political events, including Labour Party and Liberal Democrat Party conferences.

February 2013: Professor Roger Smith

Yet another fascinating paper on restorative justice was given by Professor Roger Smith from Durham University, entitled ‘Haven’t we been here before? Restorative practice and diversion revisited’. Roger Smith is Professor of Social Work in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University. He has published and researched widely on youth justice issues. His most recent book Doing Justice to Young People: Youth Crime and Social Justice was published in 2011.


February 2013: Jeremy Whittle

Jeremy Whittle from Resettlement UK gave an insightful talk on the work of his agency with young offenders leaving custody. The talk was well attended by students and practitioners from Youth Offending Teams in Devon and Cornwall.

December 2012: Rae Porter and Liz Hand

Rae Porter and Liz Hand gave a talk about their work with PROMISE which is funded by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and Supporting People to help women who are involved in the criminal justice system in Plymouth.

September 2012: Dr Martin Wright

The Group’s first event of the year was a highly interesting talk given by award winning criminologist Dr Martin Wright. The Group were lucky enough to be given the chance to hear Dr Wright talk about some of the work he has been involved with during his time with The Restorative Justice Council.

March 2016: experts and agencies come together for prison reform forum

The Prime Minister has set out ambitious plans for reform and today's discussions at the University of Plymouth are an important forum for understanding what needs to be done if those reforms are to be successful.

Former Chief Inspector of Prisons Professor Nick Hardwick was among the speakers at the Prison Reform Forum.

Learn more about the event held at the University of Plymouth

​Action group projects

Choices Action Group Project

This group works in partnership with CHOICES, a voluntary sector agency which provides support to the families of prisoners. 

The group are involved in creating a website and teen magazine which will provide information and support to the children and families which the agency targets.

Vulnerable Young People Group

This group will set up a mentoring project for vulnerable and marginalized young people who have been arrested and passed through a local police custody suite. 

 They will provide practical advice, guidance and support to these young people and broker access to a variety of social support agencies, e.g. in relation to homelessness and drug misuse. 

 Currently, this group is planning the project in collaboration with Plymouth Youth Services and undergoing training and checks. 

28 February 2014: Day of Action

Most universities in the country have a Howard League Student Society, and once a year they hold a national Day of Action. 2014’s theme was about education and work, and raising the aspirations of young people who are at risk of getting involved in the criminal justice system.

The Day of Action at Plymouth took place at Efford Youth and Community Centre, organised by the University of Plymouth Howard League Student Society in partnership with Plymouth City Council Youth Services. Efford was chosen as it is categorised as an area of high deprivation where young people may be in danger of getting involved in crime.

The event included an employability skills workshop, run by one of the University’s careers advisors, and other interactive activities to raise young people’s aspirations towards work and education. This Day of Action represented a very good opportunity for students to take the skills they have learnt out of the lecture room and into the local community. By engaging in this way, they are both helping young people and also gaining valuable experience of the ways in which the knowledge gained through their studies might make a real and positive difference to people’s lives.