Letter: Judith Kazantzis obituary

Brian Guthrie writes: Judith Kazantzis wrote movingly for the Monitor, in April 2006, about her perspective on the years her father spent visiting prisons

Among her other political concerns, the poet Judith Kazantzis honoured the interest in criminal justice pursued by her father, Lord (Frank) Longford.

I met her at a Longford prize event, which I was attending as editor of Independent Monitor, a journal concerned particularly with the work done by volunteers for the Independent Monitoring Boards in prisons and immigration removal centres. She then wrote movingly for the Monitor, in April 2006, about her perspective on the years her father spent visiting prisons, and his dedication to the rehabilitation of Myra Hindley. For its title, she used the epitaph he chose for himself: The Outcast’s Outcast.

She had already visited the prison in her home town of Lewes, East Sussex; she did not like it. We subsequently visited Maidstone jail (a regular target of her father’s scrutiny), in Kent. In her dealings with the residents and staff, and in the piece she wrote, A Writer’s Tour of Maidstone (December 2006), she was clearsighted and uncompromising in her critique of the desperate conditions inside.

Like her sister Rachel Billington, who writes for the prisoners’ newspaper, Inside Time, Judith was cut from the same humane cloth as their father.

Brian Guthrie

The GuardianTramp

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