A prison reform group, formerly headed by the late Sir Peter Williams, QC, has been renamed in his honour.
The restructured league has the backing of several high profile New Zealanders, including Paul Henry, Sir Jim McLay and Bill Ralston.
Sir Peter died, aged 80, on June 9 after a career marked by high profile defences of people such as Terry Clark and Ronald Jorgensen. In later years, Sir Peter advocated tirelessly for more humane treatment of prisoners.
This week it was decided the Prison Reform Society, which was formed in 2011, will be renamed the "The Sir Peter Williams QC Penal Reform League Inc".
Sir Peter's widow, Lady Heeni Phillips-Williams, said it is not a political or religious organisation, but was made up of volunteers who were "idealists, moralists, intellectuals, lawyers, pragmatists, accountants, ex-prisoners and law students".
The society was set up four years ago by former members of the New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform.
"It will, as it has always done under the Prison Reform Society, provide a voice and viewpoint to counter and balance the Sensible Sentencing Trust's promotions of revenge and savage punishment," Lady Heeni said. She said the league may also provide free legal work such as in Coroners' cases - as Sir Peter and Lady Heeni did with appearances at the Kaikohe Coroners Court and Auckland Coroners Courts.
"Essentially, the group is about promoting and making New Zealand a better place, where fair outcomes are prevalent and injustice is uncommon."
Broadcaster Paul Henry said he was confident Lady Heeni would be highly effective with the league as she was extremely capable, passionate about prison reform and "for obvious reasons" committed to the legacy of Sir Peter's work.
Mr Henry said there had been improvements but much more prison reform was needed, as it made little sense to release prisoners back into society as even worse people than when they were sentenced.
"It's foolish not to put our best efforts into it. We owe it to the victims," he said.
Mr Henry also said he believed depriving offenders of their freedom was punishment enough. "There's the popular view that these people are ****holes and they should be treated as such, but who does that benefit?"
Lady Heeni said membership of the league has continued to increase, particularly with more lawyers who worked in the courts and prisons.
The new executive of The Sir Peter Williams QC Penal Reform League is almost all women, with the exception being Muslim lawyer Isaac Koya.
Patron: Lady Heeni Phillips-Williams; co presidents: Isaac Koya and Vivienne Feyen; co secretaries: Tina Wilson and Lady Heeni Phillips-Williams; and treasurer: Guangying Qi (accountant)