Reform's research and commentary is regularly featured in the media. You can find press coverage of Reform's work here.

We are always happy to comment on policy issues relevant to our work. If you would like a quote, an interview, or a background briefing, please email



COVID-19 prisoner release plan is welcome but could go further

Commenting on Government plans to temporarily release low-risk prisoners to fight the spread of COVID-19, Aidan Shilson-Thomas, Reform Criminal Justice lead, said:

“The Government is absolutely right to take these steps to reduce the prison population and help mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Given the rate of spread, these measures should be actioned as quickly as possible, while maintaining public safety.

“But the Government must also reduce the flow of people entering prison in the first place. We therefore urge the Lord Chancellor to go further.

Reform has shown that over 80 per cent of short sentences are not for non-violent offences, and community punishments are on average more effective. The Government should ban the use of these sentences immediately to further aid efforts to house a single prisoner per cell.”

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BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, 26 March 2020

Aidan Shilson-Thomas, Reform Researcher, appeared on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to discuss our Reform Perspectives on 'Reducing the prison population: Extending Home Detention Curfew and scrapping short sentences'.

Listen from 17.40 here.

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Sky News, 20 March 2020

Aidan Shilson-Thomas, Reform Researcher, appeared on Sky News to discuss our Reform Perspectives on 'Reducing the prison population: Extending Home Detention Curfew and scrapping short sentences'.

Red Box

Times Red Box, 23 March 2020

Reform Researcher, Aidan Shilson-Thomas, outlined how and why the Government should release low-risk offenders to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Read the piece here

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On Friday 20 March, we launched our Reform Perspectives on 'Reducing the prison population: Extending Home Detention Curfew and scrapping short sentences'.

It was covered in The Independent.

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The Chancellor was wrong to shirk radical revenue raising tax reform

Responding to the Budget, Reform think tank Director, Charlotte Pickles, said:

“The Chancellor’s fiscal stimulus in response to the potential economic shock of coronavirus is sensible. But beyond those exceptional measures, this is a high spend, low revenue-raising Budget.

“Aside from the welcome reduction to entrepreneurs’ relief, the Chancellor abandoned the more courageous ideas – such as extending council tax and cutting high rate pension relief – floated pre-Budget. The start of a new Parliament is the time to take unpopular decisions, and the Chancellor may regret not taking this opportunity to shore up the public finances.”

The Independent

The Independent, 10 March 2020

Aidan Shilson-Thomas, Reform Researcher, was featured in The Independent commenting on the spread of coronavirus in UK prisons.

Read here.


£70m to ‘toughen up’ on probation sounds good, but misses the mark, says think tank 

Commenting on reports suggesting the Chancellor is due to unveil £70m in new funds to ‘toughen up’ criminal probation, Aidan Shilson-Thomas, Reform Criminal Justice Lead, said:

“This is a welcome investment, and extending the use of electronic monitoring, including using alcohol tags, is good news.

“However, despite sounding tough, hiking up the maximum hours of unpaid work, which is already 300 hours, isn’t likely to have a serious deterrent effect.

“Lessening probation officers’ caseloads and investing in the resettlement of prisoners, so they are not released into homelessness and are supported into employment, are much more pressing challenges for the Chancellor to consider if the Government wants to cut reoffending.” 


“Encouraging” day in effort to end rough sleeping, says think tank

Welcoming the 9% decline in rough sleeping last year and the Government’s new £236 million fund to help rough sleepers, Reform Director, Charlotte Pickles, said: 

“The decline in the number of people identified as sleeping rough is encouraging, and this new money shows the Government are serious about delivering on their manifesto promise to “end” the crisis.

“It is vital, however, that Dame Louise Casey’s review looks at the structural drivers of rough sleeping.

“The shortfall between housing benefit and the cost of private renting, short-term funding cycles for Local Authorities, and the scarcity of social housing must be addressed if lasting change is to be delivered.”

BBC News clip

BBC News, 26 February 2020

Claudia Martinez, Research Manager and Health lead at Reform appeared on BBC News to discuss 'trolley waits' and pressures on the NHS.


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On Wednesday 26 February 2020, Reform launched its report Manufacturing the future: Could healthcare data help rebalance the UK’s economy?

It was covered in CityAM

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talkRadio, 24 February 2020

Researcher Aidan Shilson-Thomas appeared on talkRadio with James Whale to discuss prison overcrowding.

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The Times, 20 February 2020

John Penrose MP, Member of Parliament for Weston-super-Mare and Chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum, wrote an article for The Times Red Box on why the UK needs a sovereign wealth fund.

This accompanies our latest Reform Perspectives report, 'Time to think big: A UK Sovereign Wealth Fund'.

Read the article here.

Screenshot of Charlotte on Sky News

Sky News, 14 February 2020

Reform's Director, Charlotte Pickles, was on All Out Politics, Sky News, with Adam Boulton.

She gave her take on the fallout from the Cabinet reshuffle and what it may mean for public spending going forward.

Former Special Advisers Peter Cardwell and Alex Dawson also joined.

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LBC, 13 February 2020

Charlotte Pickles, Director of Reform, appeared on LBC with Iain Dale to discuss the Cabinet reshuffle.