“When prisoners are poorly treated, the Church must act as a critical stakeholder and vanguard of prison reform.”

The keynote speaker at this year’s annual Harold Hood lecture was Dr Chijioke Nwalozie from De Montfort University.

The Harold Hood Lecture is held every year by Pact to celebrate the life and memory of the late Sir Harold Hood – a devout Catholic and a generous philanthropist with a keen interest in prison reform. The lecture seeks to contribute to public knowledge and understanding of how we can make prisons places in which individuals can change and grow.

Dr Nwalozie set out the crucial role that the Church has in prison reform and in addressing many of the issues that face the criminal justice system today, concluding that ‘the Church must speak out wherever the prisoner’s plight is reduced to inhuman conditions.’ 

He spoke about how faith can both support people in prison through their sentence and help them to make a fresh start on release. He set out the life-changing value that prison chaplaincy offers people in prison, lending a listening ear and providing the opportunity to talk to someone who does not judge them. Click here to see Dr. Nwalozie's keynote speech.

Earlier in the evening, attendees heard from the fantastic Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir and from Laura Manders, Pact’s Service User Voice Manager, who gave a personal reflection on the criminal justice system and her own positive encounter with a prison chaplain that impacted her journey.