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‘Hidden corner’ of Criminal Justice System celebrates its 40th anniversary

Prisoners Abroad charity, based in an office above a fashion store in Finsbury Park, started in 1978

16 February, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn joined charity workers at their office in Fontill Road, Finsbury Park

LABOUR North MP Jeremy Corbyn paid a visit to “the hidden corner of the Criminal Justice System” on Friday as the charity Prisoners Abroad celebrated its 40th year in the borough.

Launched in 1978, the charity now supports around 1,700 British people locked up abroad every year. The 24 full-time staff members based in an office above a fashion store in Fonthill Road, Finsbury Park, have also helped former inmates resettle back into life in Britain.

“We are a completely non-judgmental support service,” said CEO Pauline Crowe. “In some countries access to food, clean water and the necessities of life can be hard and you need support quite quickly.”

Ms Crowe has worked in the charity sector for more than 30 years and the past 15 years has been spent at Prisoner’s Abroad. She was awarded an Order of the British Empire 10 years ago.

She said: “It’s an organisation that few people think about. Unless they deal with us it won’t dawn on most people the necessity of our organisation. But our importance is underlined by the fact we have been here 40 years. We are a hidden corner of the Criminal Justice System.”

The charity hosted Lord Neuberger, the former president of the Supreme Court, at their annual dinner this month where he congratulated them on reaching their landmark year.

Of the future, Ms Crowe said: “I hope we will still be here in 40 years’ time. People living in harsh conditions need us to be there.”

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