by: The Economic Voice
published: 6 November 2013
Chained To The Prison Gates: A new perspective on protests by campaigners Pauline Campbell and Violet Van der Elst.
Two women who campaigned tirelessly for penal reform after enduring personal tragedy are the subject of an enlightening new report published by the Howard League for Penal Reform.
The study offers a new perspective on protests by Pauline Campbell and Violet Van der Elst – two women, divided by decades, who demonstrated outside prisons to raise awareness of injustice within the penal system.
Chained To The Prison Gates, written by Laura Topham, reveals how the women’s demonstrations attracted national media attention but came at huge personal cost, leading to criminal proceedings, illness, misery and financial ruin.
Drawing on interviews with politicians, criminologists and leading penal reformers, the report also analyses the two campaigns in detail, exploring their use of direct action and assessing their impact and effectiveness.
Pauline Campbell, a retired health lecturer from Cheshire who became a Howard League trustee, began campaigning for better conditions in women’s prisons after the death of her daughter Sarah in Styal prison in 2003. Sarah was the fourth of six women to die from self-inflicted injuries in Styal within twelve months.