Lawyer behind successful prison book ban challenge to lead women sentencing project

The lawyer who overturned the ban on prisoners receiving books from their loved ones is to lead a project challenging the imprisonment of women for minor, non-violent crimes.

Sam Genen, who has an impressive track record of fighting for the rights of women prisoners, including by challenging the invasive strip searching of women in several prisons, joins legal charity the Centre for Criminal Appeals this week.

A former Times lawyer of the week, Sam will lead the Centre’s Women Sentencing Project, which aims to cut the destructive use of prison terms to punish women for minor, non-violent offences, such as nonpayment of council tax.

Nearly 10 years after the landmark Corston Report exposed the failings surrounding the imprisonment of women, it remains the case that single mothers, victims of abuse and individuals suffering from addictions are all too frequently being given stints in jail instead of the support they need.

Suzanne Gower, Managing Director of the Centre, commented: “Throughout his career Sam has proven himself to be an innovative and creative lawyer and a committed and fearless advocate for the rights of women prisoners. I have no doubt he will excel in this new role, challenging the senseless and unjust practices that currently see so many women locked up instead of given the help they need.”

Sam, commenting on his appointment, said: “I am flattered to be taking over the already impressive women’s sentencing project.  The Centre for Criminal Appeals is an amazing charity and I hope to have a tangible impact.”