About Us

Justice and Prisons has been  established to provide an opportunity  to   debate and comment on issues relating to  the use and practice of imprisonment around the world.  It aims to be a resource for guidance and informed opinion which will help ensure that criminal justice  plays  its  proper role in society,  respecting human rights and contributing to the  rule of law.

International and regional justice and prison standards are intrinsically demanding benchmarks, particularly in the developing world. Rob Allen and Paul English have many years direct experience of supporting and leading programmes with policy makers and practitioners  in government and  non-governmental organisations  which apply innovative responses and proven models of improved practice to work towards those standards.

Rob Allen works on prison reform in the UK and internationally. From 2005 to 2010 he was director of the International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS) at King’s College London, undertaking research on imprisonment and assisting prison systems to comply with international standards.   He has undertaken prison reform work in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Prior to joining ICPS in March 2005, he ran Rethinking Crime and Punishment, an initiative on to change public attitudes to prison and alternatives in the UK. Earlier in his career, Rob was director of research and development at UK charity NACRO. He was a member of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales from 1998 to 2006 and a specialist adviser to the UK Parliament’s Justice Committee. He has written widely on youth and criminal justice.


Paul English is an independent international penal reform expert. He has worked for United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Open Society Justice Initiative and Penal Reform International where for seven years he was the first Executive Director. He has held memberships on expert panels for Governments and alliances of leading international bodies for prison reform and rule of law. He has lead and managed penal reform programmes in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the Americas. He previously worked for international development NGOs during which time he lived in Peru and The Gambia.