Baroness Jean Corston. Baroness Corston is a champion for women's rights through her appointment as a Life Peer in 2005 and prior to that as MP for Bristol East. In 2007 Baroness Corston led the groundbreaking review into the experiences of women throughout the criminal justice system. The Corston Report made 43 recommendations providing a roadmap for a women-specific criminal justice system. The overarching aim was for a "distinct, radically different, visibly-led, strategic, proportionate, holistic, woman-centred, integrated approach”. The key call was for the significant reduction in the number of women in prison alongside sustained investment in gender-specialist community support. The biggest success of the Corston Report was in establishing a network of 'one-stop-shop' women's centres across the country in which Women in Prison runs three under the Corston model.

Read our Interview with Baroness Corston in WIP's national magazine and how we marked the ten-year anniversary of the Corston Report.


Yvonne Roberts, Chair of Trustees. Yvonne has been involved with Women in Prison since it was founded over thirty years ago by Chris Tchaikovsky. Yvonne is an award winning journalist in television and print and currently writes for The Observer. She is a novelist and author of several non-fiction books. Yvonne is a fellow of the Young Foundation and political writer in residence at the University of Sussex.

Jo Ryan, Vice Chair of Trustees. Jo is Director of the Bright Ideas Partnership, a consultancy that supports charities to raise funds efficiently and cost effectively. She has extensive experience of fundraising for charities and not-for-profits. Her areas of expertise are statutory fundraising, trust fundraising and undertaking external evaluations. She previously worked as the Fundraising and Development Manager for Victim Support Southwark. In this role, she was a sole fundraiser and as such, she understands the need for developing and implementing an effective fundraising strategy for a small charity with limited resources and support. Jo has a Masters in Criminology and Forensic Psychology.

Grace Stevens, Treasurer.

Paramjit Ahluwalia is a criminal defence barrister (called to the Bar in 2002) and practices at Garden Court Chambers. She specialises in cases affecting individuals with migration crime and also individuals with a background of mental health difficulties. She is part of the advisory group for the Centre for Criminal Appeals and lectures and writes on issues of migration crime and modern day slavery.

Harriet Johnson is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers.  Her specialisms comprise the defence of serious crime (including criminal appeals), as well as related aspects of human rights law, and civil actions against the police.  Harriet has delivered addresses on these topics at conferences all over the world.  A fierce advocate of women’s rights, Harriet founded the annual Doughty Street Women events for lawyers, charities, academics and activists that focus on what more the law can do for women.

Lynne Laidlaw. Lynne has over 20 years of experience working within the UK VCS covering a range of issues and constituencies including the Criminal Justice System, human rights, medical research, disability, advocacy, and mentoring.  During her working life, she delivered consultancy, facilitation, and training on monitoring and evaluation, strategic and organisational development, change management, and fundraising.  She also provided training on working with offenders and ‘social care/vulnerable clients’, including mentoring.  She engages in a range of volunteering roles including as a Restorative Justice Panel Member for Surrey Youth Support Services. Lynne has an MA from San Francisco State, USA in Political Science; an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Sussex University; and a Post Graduate Diploma in Mediation and Conflict Resolution from Birkbeck.

Martine Lignon. After most of her career spent in Adult, Further and Higher Education, Martine turned to prisoners’ education, training and employment. She worked as Head of Learning and Skills at HMP Pentonville and HMP/YOI Isis. Then, under OLASS 2, she was the education provider for residents of HMP/YOI Holloway and HMP Pentonville and clients of the North and East quadrants of London Probation. Now retired, Martine volunteers as employability trainer for The Refugee Council. She is the Chair of the Prisoners’ Advice Service years and was the Chair of the Detention Advice Service for 2 years. She joined WIP as a trustee in 2002.

Naima Sakande manages the Women's Justice Initiative at the Centre for Criminal Appeals to represent women facing severe and multiple disadvantage who have been wrongfully convicted or sentenced. Prior to this Naima worked for Leap Confronting Conflict running programmes for young women and in New York as an Investigator for a pro-bono public defence law firm in the Bronx. She has a B.A. in International Development from Yale University, where she also tutored and mentored young people involved in the criminal justice system. In her spare time Naima produces and hosts a podcast called Third Culture, exploring the stories of people of mixed heritage. She is a passionate advocate for women's rights, as well as prison and criminal justice reform.

Aisling Wootten is Director of Membership across two Students Unions, where she oversees campaigns, communications and service delivery within both organisations.  Prior to this role Aisling worked as a Parliamentary researcher and studied gender, politics and economics at both SOAS and LSE. In her spare time, Aisling is a director of Lips choir, an all-woman pop choir based in London. Lips is non-auditioning and provides women with the opportunity to participate in learning and performance. It is also a supporter of the group Women Asylum Seekers Together.


Deborah Coles is Director of INQUEST and a leading authority on deaths in custody and their investigation. She undertakes policy, research and consultancy work on the strategic issues raised by contentious deaths, their investigation, the treatment of bereaved people and state accountability. She was a member of the reference group to The Corston Report on women in the criminal justice system, and is the author of several publications including Dying On the Inside: Examining Women’s Deaths in Prison (INQUEST 2008).  Deborah is a member of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody and a trustee for the Buwan Kothi International Trust and Clean Break Theatre Company.

Davina James-Hanman is an independent consultant on Violence Against Women. She has worked in this field for three decades in a variety of capacities including advocate, campaigner, conference organiser, crisis counsellor, policy officer, project manager, refuge worker, researcher, trainer and writer. She has published innumerable articles, two book chapters and has also authored a wide variety of original resources for survivors. She has worked with a wide range of organisations including the Home Office, the Mayor of London, Department of Health, CJS Inspectorates and as special adviser to the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Jennifer Joseph is an actor who graduated from Clean Break, a prison theatre charity, and has performed in the all-female production of the Shakespeare Trilogy – Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest – at the Donmar Warehouse in London, and has had roles in several films, including Starred Up, Honeytrap and TV’s My Mad Fat Diary.