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John Howard (prison reformer)

John Howard (1726-1790) was an English prison reformer. In 1773 he was appointed as High Sheriff or Bedfordshire. Although the position of High Sheriff was largely ceremonial, Howard took it seriously and embarked on a seventeen year study of prison conditions. Not only did he travel in Great Britain, but also throughout Europe and Russia.

Howard wrote one book, The State of Prisons in England and Wales. This book went through three editions during his lifetime, but his recommendations were not widely put into practice until the 19th century.

John Howard is the namesake of the John Howard Society, a Canadian non-profit organization that seeks to develop understanding and effective responses to the problem of crime.

See also: Elizabeth Fry