On Thursday 27th November we were thrilled to be awarded the 2014 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 of humanity, courage, persistence, originality and commitment to diversity. Having been runner-up in 2007 it was especially gratifying to be this year’s winner.
Marina Cantacuzino was awarded the prize (a certificate and a cheque for £1500) at the Longford Lecture in London by Channel 4 broadcaster, Jon Snow, and Nils Oberg, who went on to deliver the 2014 Longford lecture. The director of the Swedish Prison and Parole Service spoke about Sweden’s holistic approach to offender management where a strong faith in people’s ability to change is deeply embedded in their value system.
In Marina’s short acceptance speech she spoke of her honour to be awarded such a prestigious Prize but said that the prize was really for all the facilitators and beneficiaries of RESTORE – several of whom were present that night. She concluded: “Over the past 7 years we have been delivering RESTORE to adult male prisoners, youth offending institutes, in probation and also just this year for the first time to women prisoners in partnership with InfoBuzz in Gloucester. And we’re starting now to work in the community with for instance ex-service men and women in partnership with veteran’s group Forward Assist. Delivering RESTORE to other vulnerable groups besides offenders has become a key aim for us because we are now in the brave new world of the transforming rehabilitation agenda where no small voluntary sector organisation can be sure to find a place.”