Storybook Dads, the charity enabling 15,000 children every year to hear stories read by their parents from prison, won the top award as Organisation of the Year at last night’s 2016 Criminal Justice Alliance Awards ceremony.
The Awards, generously supported for the second year by the Hadley Trust, acknowledge a ‘marked contribution to effectiveness, fairness or new models of delivery’ across the criminal justice world from policing to prisons and probation. Any organisation, not just the CJA’s 115 members, can qualify for an award.
CJA Director Ben Summerskill said: ‘It was clear that, among a constellation of organisations doing remarkable work across the criminal justice pathway, Storybook Dads was an exceptional example of innovation and effective delivery. Its work is now being copied across the world.’
The Journalism of the Year Award was scooped by BBC News for its series of news features and a one-off documentary, Life Within Wandsworth Prison. Reporters Ed Thomas and Lucy Manning and Editor Ed Campbell secured unprecedented access to a prison approaching crisis and powerfully drew the attention of a mass audience to the reality of prison life in 2016.
Runners-up awards also went to SAFE!, the support programme for young people affected by crime across the Thames Valley, and Ian Buckingham, Head of Housing Service for St Mungo’s at Feltham Young Offender Institution.
Winners were selected by a panel of judges including crossbench peer Baroness Young of Hornsey, veteran legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg, Director of Anawim Joy Doal and Mark Johnson, founder of User Voice. The Awards were presented at a ceremony at the House of St Barnabas in London’s Soho.
A further Lifetime Award, for decades of work in support of prison charities, was presented to John Samuels QC, President of the Prisoners’ Education Trust, Vice President of Unlock and Tempus Novo and Patron of the Prisoners’ Advice Service.
Sharon Berry, Chief Executive of Storybook Dads, said: ‘We’re hugely happy to receive this amazing award. The CJA’s tireless work in so many areas of social policy creates meaningful positive change and everyone should applaud their efforts’.
Ed Campbell, editor of the BBC’s Life Inside Wandsworth Prison, said: “Our films showed that, despite the best efforts of staff, prisoners in the UK inhabit a dangerous environment, undeniably awash with drugs and where violence is commonplace. It’s not a pretty picture but one we’re proud to have been able to paint.”