Transforming Lives Advisory Group

The Advisory Group has been convened to support the delivery of the new Transforming Lives programme, overseeing its strategic direction, providing advice and guidance and being champions for the programme as it progresses.

Dr Carlene Firmin MBE is the Chair of the Advisory Group.


Andrea Albutt –  President, Prison Governors Association

Andrea Albutt is the first woman's President of the Prison Governors Association (PGA). The PGA exists to represent the interests of its membership, and to promote and support continuous improvement within the criminal justice system.

Andrea joined HM Prison Service in 1990 as a Prison Officer,  and has had a diverse career working in different settings: old Victorian local, high security, therapeutic community, a modern core local, open, and women’s prisons. Andrea governed her first prison in 2004, which was HMP & YOI Low Newton, and followed this with HMP Swansea, HMP & YOI Eastwood Park, and most recently governed HMP Bristol. Andrea has a particular interest in women offenders.

Professor Michele Burman - Professor of Criminology, University of Glasgow

Michele Burman is a leading academic expert on gender and criminal justice. She is currently the Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow and a founding co-Director of the cross-institutional Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), which is a collaboration between four Scottish Universities.  Michele is also co-convenor of the European Society of Criminology Working Group on Gender and Justice.

Michele has longstanding research and teaching interests in criminal justice responses to offending women and girls, and also in criminal justice responses to gender-based violence. She has a particular interest in young women and girls at risk of being drawn into youth/adult criminal justice systems and, with colleagues, conducted the first large-scale UK study of young women and violence. Michele has published widely on the drivers of female imprisonment, police investigation of violence against women and children, rape advocacy, rape law reform and sexual offence trials, young women's experience of violence, and youth justice policy and practice.

Dr Carlene Firmin MBE - Trustee of the Prison Reform Trust, Head of Partnership, MsUnderstood, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bedfordshire

Carlene Firmin is the Chair of the Transforming Lives: Reducing Women's Imprisonment Advisory Group and has been a Trustee of the Prison Reform Trust since 2011. Carlene founded the MsUnderstood Partnership in 2013 to improve responses to young people's experiences of gender inequality.

Carlene is a senior research fellow at the University of Bedfordshire, concerned with safeguarding young people, social justice and inequality, with a particular expertise in the field of violence and abuse between young people. Prior to joining the University, Carlene spent ten years in voluntary and statutory agencies, advising and influencing justice and safeguarding policymakers on issues, including as Assistant Director at Barnardo's.  Carlene's publications include Peer on peer abuse: safeguarding implications of contextualising abuse between young people within social fields and MsUnderstood: the benefits of engaging young women in anti-violence response. Alongside with this, Carlene sits on the Mayor's Violence Against Women and Girls Board.

Dr Alison Frater – Public health expert and Chair, National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice

Alison Frater is an independent public health consultant, with particular expertise in women’s health. She was until recently  Head of Public Health and Health in the Justice System for NHS London, responsible for developing the strategy for women's health in the criminal justice system. Alison has expertise in research and implementation of evidence-based policy, with a strong focus on advocacy for social justice and reducing inequalities.  Alison is a visiting professor at Royal Holloway, University of London and a senior research fellow at the University of Southampton.  She was appointed Chair of the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice in 2015, and is a champion of the role of the arts as a springboard to change.

Donna Gipson - Regional Manager, User Voice

Donna Gipson is a Regional Manager with User Voice, and has extensive  professional experience in managing services in criminal justice and the women's sector as well as relevant personal experience.

PRT have partnered with User Voice, to help ensure that the voices and experiences of women who have direct experience with the criminal justice system are heard.  User Voice's work is led and delivered by ex-offenders who enable dialogue between users and providers of services within the criminal justice system.

Tracy Hammond - Communication and Engagement Director, KeyRing

Tracy has had a long-standing relationship with Prison Reform Trust, working with Jenny Talbot OBE on previous projects.

KeyRing are partners with PRT on the Transforming Lives programme. KeyRing's support is based on people living in their own homes but sharing their skills and talents with each other and with their communities.

Baroness (Fiona) Hodgson of Abinger CBE

Fiona Hodgson has worked on international women's issues, especially in the context of developing and conflict countries.  She is a member of the Steering Board of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, launched by William Hague and Angelina Jolie and is Chairman of the Advisory Group of GAPS (Gender Action in Peace and Security). Fiona is Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security was a member of the Women's Justice Taskforce which reported in 2011.

Fiona is an Honorary Vice President of the Conservative Women's Organisation, having been Chairman of the Organisation until 2008, and during that period ran panel events on addressing violence against women, trafficking of women and international women's human rights. She was awarded a CBE for work on gender equality and entered the House of Lords in 2013.

Clare Jones CBE - Project lead, Women Centred Working

Clare Jones was until recently Joint Chief Executive of WomenCentre, one of the largest women's centres in the UK.  WomenCentre is a leading model of the integrated one-stop-shop approach to working with women offering a safe, involving and empowering space for women. Clare also works for Women Centred Working, which is an initiative to encourage the design and delivery of better services for women facing multiple disadvantages. Women Centred Working has been set up to share good practice, change thinking and promote effective, women centred approaches nationally. Clare was a member of the Women's Justice Taskforce which reported in 2011.

Professor Nancy Loucks OBE – Chief Executive, Families Outside

Nancy Loucks is the Chief Executive of Families Outside, a Scottish voluntary organisation that works on behalf of families affected by imprisonment. The charity raises awareness of the impact prison sentences have on families, such as hitting their incomes, affecting the education of children, and breaking the family ties.

Nancy is also a visiting professor at the Centre for Law, Crime & Justice at the University of Strathclyde. Nancy has written many publications including the literature review Prisons without bars: needs, support, and good practice for work with Prisoners’ Families  and  a research report  for the Scottish Prison Service HMPI Cornton Vale: research into drugs and alcohol, violence and bullying, suicides and self-injury, and backgrounds of abuse which contributed to the Safer Way report in 1998.

Nancy worked with Jenny Talbot OBE on the 'No-one Knows' project on offenders with learning difficulties and learning disabilities with a report published in 2007. Nancy has extensive experience conducting research into human rights issues in prison, female and young offenders, the experience of offenders with learning difficulties and learning disabilities, and the maintenance of prisoners’ family ties.

Sue McAllister – Director General, Northern Ireland Prison Service

Sue McAllister was the first women to hold the most senior position within a prison service anywhere in the UK, when she was appointed as Director General of Northern Ireland Prison Service in 2012.  Sue has had over 25 years experience in the prison service, including working as a governor of both a prison and young offenders institution.   

Sue has also worked in policy roles in the Prison Service in England and Wales and the Ministry of Justice and as Head of the Public Sector Bids Unit.

Dr Kate Paradine - Chief Executive, Women in Prison

Prior to taking up the position at Women in Prison in 2015, Kate Paradine was National Quality Lead for CRI (Crime Reduction Initiatives) and is a trustee for theatre company Clean Break. She has led various change initiatives in the public and charity sectors on issues including domestic abuse, child abuse, substance misuse and mental health.  Kate also led a project to transfer staff and services from the National Policing Improvement Agency to the College of Policing.

Women in Prison (WIP) is a charity that supports women across England's prisons and campaigns on behalf of women affected by the criminal justice system. WIP also meet with women at the gate on the day of their release and continue engaging with them in the community. WIP run three women's centres (WomenMatta in Manchester; the Beth Centre in Lambeth; and, Women's Support Centre in Woking).

Sarah Payne – Director, National Offender Management Service  (NOMS) in Wales

Sarah Payne was appointed as a Director of NOMS in 2014. Sarah has responsibility for the National Probation Service in Wales and  the public sector prisons, manages the contracts for the Wales Community Rehabilitation Company and Parc prison, and represents NOMS to the Welsh Government and other local partners.

Prior to this position, Sarah was Chief Executive for Wales Probation Trust, and before that was the Chief Executive for YWCA England and Wales (working with more than 11,000 women and girls a year). Earlier in her career, Sarah was deputy governor of HMP Pentonville and governor of Bullingdon and Oxford prisons, before becoming the area manager of the 12 prisons in Thames Valley and Hampshire.

Dame Shirley Pearce DBE – Chair, College of Policing

Mary Pilgrim, National Probation Service, Lead of Camden & Islington Cluster, MAPPA and Lead for Women

Malcolm Richardson JP - Chairman of the Magistrates Association  (MA)

Malcolm Richardson has been a magistrate sitting in  South Gloucestershire for 25 years and is National Chairman of the Magistrates Association. He was a founder member of the Family Justice Council, recently served on Sir Brian Leveson’s Review of Efficiency in Criminal Proceedings and was a member of the PRT Women’s Justice Taskforce. He believes that investment in robust, widely available community-based sentences would contribute to a reduction in both reoffending and the fracturing of families.

Dr Kay Richmond - Chairman of the UKPAC, Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland

Dr Kay Richmond (FRCGP, FFPHM) was elected as Chairman of the UK Programme Action Committee of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland in 2014. She has extensive experience as a Consultant in Public Health both at home and abroad and as a GP.

Soroptimist International is the world's largest women's service organisation and has Consultative Status at the UN.  In 2011, the Soroptimist UK Programme Action Committee resolved to work with the Prison Reform Trust to reduce women’s imprisonment. Between 2012 and 2013, 139 Soroptimist clubs across the UK gathered information and evidence to spur national and local governments into action. The "Transforming Lives" report was published in 2014 and highlighted the lack of community provision for women in trouble.