Tessa West has worked in prisons and on prison-related matters for many years. While head of a prison education department she was awarded a Cropwood Fellowship at the Institute of Criminology in Cambridge. Among other things, she worked for the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Department in Vienna and was an independent member of the Parole Board. In respect of The Curious Mr Howard she was given the Arthur Welton Award which enabled her to carry out research in Ukraine (where John Howard died). She is the author of Prisons of Promise (Waterside Press, 1997) and three novels.