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Centre for Crime and Justice Studies Bulletin September 2010

 

WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?

Order, order: the final two Spending Briefs are published

Prison and probation expenditure, 1999-2009

In July we published the second in a series of three briefings examining criminal justice expenditure over the last decade. Identifying prison and probation costs proved to be challenging with significant changes to organisational responsibility and a lack of detailed cost information making inclusive, long term comparisons difficult. The BBC reported on the increase in spending in the prison and probation system. To see their full article see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10649722. You can download the publication here: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/prisonandprobationspendingbriefing.html and if you want to order a paper copy visit here: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/publications_list.html

 

Magistrates’ courts’ and Crown Court expenditure 1999-2009

Rises in spending on the courts in the past ten years pose difficult choices for the coalition government, according to CCJS’s latest, and third, Spending Briefing in the series, funded by the Hadley Trust. For example, magistrates’ court spending has risen while staffing and caseloads have gone down. Meanwhile out of court penalties have mushroomed. The Daily Mail (20/09/10) seemed to misconstrue the report, claiming that the research advocates a replacement of the Magistrates’ courts with softer punishments. Will the planned closures of magistrates’ courts continue the trend towards justice administered by officials, instead of a fair and open process of law? You can download the report here http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/courtsspendingbriefing.html  and if you want to buy a copy go here: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/publications_list.html

 

To see the Daily Mail’s rather odd twist on the report click http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1313744/Is-end-magistrates-court-criminals-face-softer-punishments.html?ito=feeds-newsxml For other reports see the Telegraph (21/09/10) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8013616/Magistrates-in-doubt-as-summary-justice-rises.html and the Metro (20/09/10) http://www.metro.co.uk/news/841520-fast-track-justice-taking-law-away-from-magistrates

 

Working for freedom?

Launched this month is our new project – Works for Freedom – a web resource about supporting practice that empowers. Works for Freedom is one of the Centre’s projects that aims to share and develop knowledge, with a focus on needs-based rather than punitive interventions. It kicks off this month with a blog from Centre director Richard Garside on ‘Celebrating empowering practice’. Take a look at the site here http://www.worksforfreedom.org/and follow Works for Freedom on Twitter here http://twitter.com/WorksforFreedom

 

Academics warn against ‘minority report’ crime fighting

The September issue of Criminal Justice Matters (cjm), focusing on the notion of ‘pre-crime’ is guest edited by David Wall of Durham University. Professor Wall raises concerns over ‘minority report crime fighting’ arguing that new methods used to try to reduce ‘crime’ may be imposing tighter controls on those who are most vulnerable given the current economic situation. If you join as a member, you will receive ‘cjm’ four times a year, straight to your front door. To see a new online snippet go to:

Introduction Editorial http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/section?content=a926650468&fulltext=713240928

Introduction to themed section http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/section?content=a926685962&fulltext=713240928

Other stuff

 

Our director, Richard Garside, was on the Today programme on September 23, debating the effectiveness and desirability of specialist mental health courts.

 

We have two new interns at CCJS. We welcome Mel Kerrison and Alison Quinn joined us in early September and take over from Felicia, Faye and Simon, who regular readers will know were with us for the last academic year. As ever, we’ve chucked them in the deep-end…

 

Richard Garside supports Ken Clarke in questioning the prison and crime rate link and calls for an ‘evidence-informed’ approach to the penal system: http://uknews.freshcontentengine.com/ken-clarke-is-right-to-question-prison-and-crime-rate-link-richard-garside/ .

 

In late September, Policy director Will McMahon attended a stimulating and thoughtful day at the National Children’s Bureau on attachment, adolescents and the criminal justice system. Roger Grimshaw and Rebecca Roberts attended ‘Advanced marginality and the penal state’ symposium at the University of Brighton. Anna Gilmour, policy associate, went to Politics of austerity or the austerity of politics at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol.

 

 

COMING SOON...

 

Truth, lies and pork pies in criminal justice – let us have your view

There are numerous myths, half truths and some downright pork pies that surround popular understandings about criminal justice. The March 2011 issue of ‘cjm’ will seek to draw together a series of that debunk and explain common misunderstandings. Tell us what you would like to see covered, or if you have a suggestion for an article that you would like to write, then send a proposal to Rebecca Roberts by 15 October. (Rebecca.roberts@crimeandjustice.org.uk.)

 

Liverpool Community Justice Centre report

In November the Centre will be publishing a report about the Liverpool Community Justice Centre. Please contact Tammy McGloughlin (Tammy.McGloughlin@crimeandjustice.org.uk ) if you would like to know when this report is available if you are not a CCJS member.

 

Drug science and Drug policy: Building a consensus

Taking place on Monday 1 November 2010 at the Kings Fund, London, this is an invite only high-level event aimed at drug scientists and policy professionals that will look at the key issues on how to produce the best evidence on drug harms and how drug science can and could impact on drug policy. For more details, or to request an invite, please email ISCD at info@drugscience.org.uk.

 

TAKE A LOOK AT THIS...

 

Two cons that you don’t have to be a grifter to commit

Shelter(http://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/288369/Shelter_Rogue_Landlords_briefing_2010.pdf ) have recently published a report into landlord scams. It found that among other swindles, some landlords imposed hidden charges on tenants or find unreasonable reasons to withhold deposits. Two per cent of those questioned had been a victim. Another dubious practice, the Guardian has found, is that some Energy suppliers have been taking advantage of the government’s boiler scrappage scheme by charging inflated installation fees. (22/09/10) Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/sep/21/gas-boiler-scrappage-inflated-prices

 

Refugee children – the silenced witnesses

Over 50 per cent of children in the refugee process have been subject to psychological harm and experience anxiety, bed-wetting, persistent crying and suicidal thoughts. The report by State Sponsored Cruelty also found physical health problems with the children, including fever, vomiting and coughing up blood. The report claims many children in detention centres have witnessed violence or have suffered psychological effects from dawn raids by officers. (http://www.qarn.org.uk/homepage/2010/09/13/state-sponsored-cruelty-children-in-immigration-detention/ ) There will be more coverage of this subject in the December issue of ‘cjm’.

 

Go out in the city? – no fear!

Around 50 percent of girls aged 11-18 feel unsafe in cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh. A report by Plan UK highlights that 90 percent of the young females believe they would feel safer with an increased police presence. (http://www.plan-uk.org/newsroom/fear-violence-plague-city-girls/ )

 

‘Punishing disadvantage: a profile of children in custody’…

…is the Prison Reform Trust’s new report on children in custody; looking at who are they and how have they got there. They found that most children who were sentenced to custody were repeatedly convicted and around a fifth were inside because community sentences had been breached. They also found that children were given custodial sentences for both violent and non-violent crimes. They conclude that not all children given custodial sentences have committed serious enough crimes to warrant this type of sentence. For the full report see... http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/uploads/documents/PunishingDisadvantage.pdf

 

IN THE NEWS

Criminal justice profiteering?…

The Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has outlined a new schemed, the Social Impact Bond, designed to reduce the rate of reconviction, involving a five million pound investment from private investors to initiate the scheme in Peterborough prison. If the project is successful then investors could see a return of up to eight million pounds from the government and the Big Lottery Fund. See BBC for full story. (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11254308)

 

The Sun says yes to police cuts shock

In response to Home Secretary Theresa May’s call for cuts in police numbers, The Sun argues ‘There are too many politically motivated prophets of doom in the police.’ (16/09/10). The Mirror takes a different view, highlighting two constabularies that are planning to ignore May’s cuts, believing they could lead to an increase in crime. (16/09/10) Some officers have been issuing non too veiled threats about the social disorder that the Coalition cuts will create and how the police will be needed to keep order on the streets. For the officers full argument see the Telegraph.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8001113/Cuts-will-bring-civil-unrest-says-police-leader.html The BBC has more on the spending cuts. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11261739

 

New York, New York, so good they used the evidence base twice…

Tory leaders have been using New York as an example; resulting in them contradicting themselves. ‘[We] will put more police back on our streets. We will massively increase police numbers across the country. The lesson of Guiliani's success in New York is that you need to increase police numbers.’ Michael Howard, 10th August 2004 Look at Howard’s reference on the BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3551318.stm.  But then again… ‘We have seen significant reductions in crime alongside stable or even falling police numbers. Look at the example of the New York police department where they have managed to cut crime at the same time as reducing the number of officers from 41,000 to 35,000.’ Theresa May,15th September 2010, in speech to police superintendent’s annual conference. See May’s use of New York on the Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/sep/15/theresa-may-cut-police-budget-without-violent-unrest .  Whichever argument floats your boat one benefit of the police cuts must be an end to the farces such as four police officers being dispatched to pursue an 84-year-old war veteran who was riding a bicycle on the pavement.The Telegraph.(03/09/2010)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/7978566/The-cycle-of-crime.html

 

 

Who guards the guards, who polices the News of the World?

The police have reopened the investigation into phone hacking by The News of the World newspaper after a former executive comes forward as a witness. Paul McMullan, former features editor, claims that senior editors, including Andy Coulson, were fully aware of the use of private investigators. For two reports of a growing story see The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/sep/08/phone-hacking-news-of-the-world-witness (08/09/2010) and The Independent.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/police-to-reopen-phone-hacking-investigation-as-more-witnesses-emerge-2074275.html. (09/09/2010)

 

The nanny state of nannies

A French crèche has become even more ‘Big Brother’ like by planning to implant tracking chips in children’s clothes to monitor their movements. The idea is that the crèche will know immediately if a child has left. Do the French often mislay their children?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/09/paris-creche-tracking-chips-children

10/09/2010

 

He’s 134 – but he’s been a mummy for the last 20 years

In a ruse to gain pensions from the government, some Japanese families are claiming that elderly relatives are still alive, even if they died decades ago. The Japanese officials now wonder about the claimed 41,000 centenarian, and whether they are actually still alive, even though official records say they are. This came to light when authorities went to congratulate a resident in Tokyo for turning 111 and found him mummified in his bedroom in newspapers dating from 1978. – The Times (10/09/2010)

 

 

Comment

 

‘When ministers talk of lynch mobs, you know they’re scared’ 

The Observer’s Andrew Rawnsley reports on the some inter-Ministerial discussion about the spending cuts. The Observer (12/09/2010) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/12/spending-cuts-minsters-coalition

 

Acting for the opposition

The Guardian comments as Tony Blair publishes his biography with the headline ‘Blair’s job was done by 1997: to numb Labour, and to enshrine Thatcherism’ The Guardian (3/09/10) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/02/blair-job-done-1997-numb-labour

 

Cheese Gromit?

“...when Ken Clarke says we need to look at short sentences in prison because of high re-offending rates, I’m not going to say he’s soft on crime” – Ed Miliband suggests support for reform in the criminal justice system. For the full “New Generation” speech see Labour. http://www2.labour.org.uk/ed-miliband---a-new-generation,2010-09-28

 

QUOTE(S) OF THE MONTH

 

Food for thought

‘One day, when I was in prison as a young man, as a privilege I got to serve food. And for the people protected under rule 45 – sex offenders and IRA – the prison officers made me put custard on their main course and gravy on their puddings.’ – Benjamin Zephaniah, writer.

 

On a lighter note...real life at Snappy Snaps in Vauxhall:

 

Police Officer in uniform enters Snappy Snaps and approaches the counter:

Police Officer: “Do you print pictures?”

Snappy Snaps employee: “Do you arrest people?”

Police Officer: “We occasionally arrest people.”

Snappy Snaps employee: “We occasionally print pictures.”

 

 

For any feedback, please contact Melinda.kerrison@crimeandjustice.org.uk

Date Published:

30/09/2010

 

Source:

Centre for Crime and Justice Studies