Second chances for ex-offenders through education

The Longford Prize

The Longford Prize

The 2016 Longford Prize was won by two organisations, with a lifetime achievement award going to Juliet Lyon CBE. 

What is the Longford Prize?

The Longford Prize recognises the contribution of an individual, group or organisation working in the area of penal or social reform in showing outstanding qualities in the following areas:





It is awarded annually by a prize committee on behalf of the trustees and patrons of the Longford Trust.  From 2016, the prize winner receives £5,000, thanks to sponsorship from The McGrath Charitable Trust, founded by Kevin and Kate McGrath. The awards' ceremony takes place as part of the annual Longford Lecture.

The Longford Prize is organised in association with The Prison Reform Trust.PRT logo

How to nominate

An Introduction by Professor John Podmore, chair of judges and former prison governorJohn Podmore

The Longford Prize has been recognising contributions to penal and social reform since 2002. As chair of the judging panel since 2012, it has been a privilege to work with an eminent group of practitioners assessing nominations and recognising organisations and individuals. 
The nominations we receive each year are testament to the hard work and dedication of many people working in difficult circumstances and dealing with issues and individuals not always popular with wider society. The work that is done, however, is vital to the safety and well-being of that society.
It was Nelson Mandela who said, "a nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but it's lowest ones”. It is a phrase that characterised the life’s work of Frank Longford. He didn’t shy away from the difficult, the damaged, the dangerous. or the controversial. Nor have any of our prize-winners. 
The Longford Trust, through the Longford Prize, is keen to ensure that such work not only continues but prospers in an ever more demanding economic and social climate. We hope that the Longford Prize will also stimulate debate and discussion on many of the complex issues addressed by nominees. Recognising courage, humanity, persistence and originality through the Longford Prize brings to the fore many of the best contributions regularly being delivered in the field.


How to make a nomination for the 2017 Longford Prize

1. Tell us about your nomination

Write a short (maximum 1000 word) description of why the individual, group or organisation is suitable for the award. All nominees must having been working in the field of social or penal reform at some stage during the 12 months before the deadline for entries.

2. Add endorsements

Nominations should be endorsed by at least two individuals or groups who can testify from personal experience to the contribution of the nominee. These endorsements should take the form of a short (one page) covering note, attached to the nomination, commending it to the attention of the trustees.

3. Send in before November 1, 2017

Send eight copies of your nomination and endorsements for the 2016 Longford Prize to arrive on or before the deadline November 1, 2017, to: Longford Trust, PO Box 64302, London NW6 9JP.  If you can, we would prefer you to email your nominations and supporting documents, via the 'Contact Us' section of this website, marking your entries 'Prize Nomination'.

The criteria

The criteria the judging panel will apply will be as follows:

1. specific work in the field of social and/or community work;
2. specific work in the field of penal reform, with prisoners or ex-prisoners;
3. drawn attention to a particular area of human abuse, either on an individual or systemic level;
4. drawn attention to a particular or general failure of social or penal provision;
5. provided particularly effective ideas for reform or policy recommendations;
6. acted on a specific occasion, or continuously, with outstanding courage in the area of social and penal affairs.

The judging process

The judges consider all entries and may want to seek additional information on nominees. The winner and any additional specially commended entrants are informed of the judges’ decision in advance of the annual Longford Lecture for 2017 and are invited to come to the event which includes the presentation of the Longford Prize. In exceptional circumstances travelling expenses are paid.

The presentation

The winner may be asked to say a few words from the platform. All winners are invited to put up a small display about their work on the occasion of the Longford Lecture so that those attending this event can meet the prize winners at the reception which follows the lecture. It is hoped that the awarding of the prize attracts public and media attention to the work of the individual/group or organisation honoured.

The prize

The winner receives a cheque for £5,000 and a certificate. Any entrants specially commended receive a cheque for £250 and a certificate. 

The Judges

The judges for the Longford Prize in 2017 include: Lord Ramsbotham, ex- Chief Inspector of Prisons; Chloe Billington, child therapist, contributor to Inside Time and National Prison Radio, and grand-daughter of Lord Longford; the journalist, Mary Riddell; and a representative of the sponsors, The McGrath Charitable Trust. The panel is chaired by former prison governor and Longford Trust trustee, John Podmore.


Present Winners

Past Winners



Past Prize

Longford Prize Winner: PACT

The winner of the Longford Prize in 2015 was PACT.  In their citiation, the judges' wrote: "“Good research and good practice have both long shown that maintaining strong family ties is one of the key factors in offenders’ rehabilitation and avoidance of reoffending.  And for that reason the judges want this year to celebrate the outstanding work of PACT and the thoughtful and wide-ranging support it provides for the parents, siblings and children of prisoners, who are often the hidden victims of crime.”

Chief Executive, Andy Keen-Downs (pictured above), received the prize from the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, at the 2015 Longford Lecture.  Jon Snow read out the citation to the audience.

The judges also highly commended the Thames Valley Partnership and In2Change, and made a Lifetime Achievement Award to Eric McGraw.

Eric McGraw and Govey


In their citiation, they wrote of him: “It is hard to think of another individual in recent times who has had more of a direct and sustained impact on the everyday life of prisoners in this country than Eric McGraw. In 1990, he set up Inside Time as a newspaper that gave prisoners a voice.  Under his inspired leadership, it has grown from a small quarterly publication, initially viewed with suspicion by the prison service, to become a 54-page, self-financing monthly, with a truly national circulation of 60,000 - lively, challenging, entertaining and respected by everyone with anything to do with prisons. Its indispensability is a testament not just to the brilliance of Eric’s founding vision, but also to the 25 years of hard and sustained work he has given unstintingly to put that vision into practice.”