16th November 2020: The Guardian

My brother, David Faulkner, who has died aged 86, was a distinguished career civil servant from 1959 to 1992, serving mostly in the Home Office before becoming an Oxford academic, a trustee of numerous charities and the author of books on criminal justice, better government, civil renewal and public service reform.

His ambition in the Home Office was to establish a humane and just criminal justice system and he worked towards that as head of the department’s prison department, trying to reduce the size of the jail population and advocating for alternatives to prison to be seen as socially productive, rather than soft options.

After he retired from the Home Office, with the rank of deputy secretary, he became senior research associate at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Criminological Research, and a fellow of his old college, St John’s. He was also chair of the Howard League for Penal Reform, a trustee of the Thames Valley Partnership, and, with Lord (Rodney) Elton, helped to run the charity Divert, which aims to keep children out of crime and persuade magistrates to prefer non-custodial sentences. He knew more about juvenile justice systems than anyone.

David’s passion away from his work was railways. He built an enormous model railway in the loft of his house in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, and had an encyclopedic knowledge of timetables and history. I interviewed him last year for an oral history project about his recollections of rail travel. Every journey was recalled in meticulous detail.

David was born in Peking (Beijing), where our father, Harold, was manager of the Chartered Bank. Our mother, Mabel (nee Riley), had gone out to teach at Raffles school in Singapore, where they met and married in 1932. The family left China in 1937 after the Japanese invasion, and David spent a lot of the second world war at our grandparents’ home in Cradley in the shadow of the Malvern Hills, which he grew to love and returned to many times during his life.

Our father became manager of the bank in Manchester, and David went to Manchester grammar school, followed by Merchant Taylors’ school in Northwood, Middlesex, after the family moved south in 1950. He studied classics and philosophy at Oxford (securing a double first), did two years’ national service as a second lieutenant in the Intelligence Corps, and then went to the Home Office as a fast stream entrant.

In 1961 married Sheila Stevenson, whom he met at the Home Office while she was a secretary there. She survives him, as do their children, Martin and Rosemary, and five grandchildren, Louise, David, Jonathan, Heather and James.

A link to the obituary in the guardian here