The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

History of the Inquiry

The inquiry was a two year process of exploring the criminal justice system within the Diocese of Leeds. The purpose was to investigate what the experiences of the people involved in the criminal justice system are, and to look at how the Catholic Diocese at all levels can act to support the people within.

The story began at the Faith in Action: Joy and Challenge gathering, organised by Caritas Leeds to mark the 2nd International Day of the Poor in November 2018. A group of clergy and lay Catholics discussed the priorities for social action in the Diocese and put these ideas to the vote. One of the areas chosen was prisoners and criminal justice.

The Inquiry was an action research project that aimed to:

  • Increase Catholics’ knowledge and understanding of the United Kingdom’s criminal justice system and the experiences of people in our Diocese who encounter it.
  • Explore and reflect on approaches to restorative justice
  • Encourage Catholics to take more action to support people encountering the criminal justice system and address the injustices they may face.
  • Make practical recommendations for change and action.

A group of commissioners was formed with a wide variety of expertise from the criminal justice system, such as barristers, former policemen, and volunteers within local Youth Justice Services. Here’s some of our commissioners talking about their own background and why they got involved:

The commissioners interviewed people from across the criminal justice system in the region: courts and the legal sector, local authorities and policy makers, enforcement and prisons, probation and employment, faith and third sector agencies and the media. They also carried out site visits.

These interviews were analysed for themes about what’s happening in the criminal justice system locally, as well as how the church might be able to help. They were used to develop recommendations for action.

More details about the inquiry are available in our report.


Rev. Dr Joseph Cortis: Co–Chair of the Commission and Coordinator for Caritas Leeds. Professional background in healthcare as practitioner and senior academic at the University of Leeds. Former Chair of Dewsbury and District Community Health Council, Chair of a Catholic Academy Council (secondary and post-16) and an educational Diocesan Trust Board. Trustee of Catholic Care-Diocesan registered charity. 

Tom Chigbo: Co-Chair of the Commission. Senior Organiser for Citizens UK, working in Leeds and West Yorkshire. He works with faith, education and community organisations to equip people with the skills to take positive social action and campaign for social justice.

John Battle: Former MP for Leeds West. Current Chair of the Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission.

Pat Brown: Member of Christian Climate Action, Leeds Citizens and ACTA Leeds. An Alexander Technique Teacher and volunteer at the Leeds Youth Justice Service, for 17 years. Particularly interested in Restorative Justice.

Jane Daguerre: Chief Executive Officer for West Yorkshire Community Chaplaincy Project (WYCCP)-Resettlement Service.

Anne Forbes: Now retired after years working in the public sector (OECD Paris; DOE) and in the charity sector for secular, ecumenical and Catholic organisations.  Anne was the first CEO of the London-based Catholic Agency for Social Concern (now known as- Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN). Has a particular interest in women in prison.

Lucy Irven: Part-time parish administrator and facilitator for the Diocesan Refugee Support Group. Volunteer panel member for North Yorkshire Youth Justice Service. 

Danielle Kingsley: A barrister with over 20 years of experience working within the criminal justice system. She has a background in education and is a serving school governor. 

Andrew Latimer: (Commissioner until 26 July 2020). Barrister practising in Leeds and Manchester for 24 years.

John Mazzucchi: Former science teacher.

Paul Monaghan: Former forensic psychologist and prison visitor. 

Rev. Philip Rogerson: Former Assistant Chief Constable, working in Birmingham, Barnsley and Sheffield. He led the national reform of police officer training; undertook international research on the Criminal Justice System and drug dependency; worked on projects to help asylum seekers and refugees across Greater Birmingham; and Higher Education governance. 

Mgr Peter Rosser: Sacramental prison chaplain for a considerable number of years. 

Margaret Scally: Had been a magistrate for 35 years and has a keen interest in the criminal justice system. Before retirement, she worked with Leeds Council for Voluntary Service and Bradford Council for Voluntary Service as Volunteer Bureau manager. This work brought her into contact with many voluntary projects relating to the criminal justice system e.g. Victims Support, Probation volunteers, Armley prison centre and projects relating to Bail Hostels and  support for offenders appearing at court.

Rachel Walker: A marketing and communications consultant who has worked with, and also volunteered for, different Not-for-Profit organisations including Leeds Diocese’s Growing Old Gracefully and Leeds Church Institute.