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Centre for Crime and Justice Studies Monthly bulletin February 2009

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WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?

 

What’s the evidence and who wants to know?

The Centre has completed a report to 11 Million (the organisation led by the Children's Commissioner for England) examining what evidence exists about the effectiveness of interventions aimed at tackling young people’s involvement in ‘gun’ or ‘knife crime’. The report reviews a decade’s research in this area, examining the factors in young people’s lives which make them more or less likely to get involved in violent behaviour.

 

'Young people’s involvement in gun and knife crime: a review of the evidence' by Mark Oldfield, Arianna Silvestri, Peter Squires and Roger Grimshaw will be published shortly by 11 Million.

cjm 75: Perspectives from North America

This twentieth anniversary issue of cjm includes a themed section, edited by Dr StephanieHayman of the University of Alberta that provides a uniquely accessible overview of criminal justice developments in North America.

 

The issue considers some of the policies and practices that have emerged from that continent and the merits of policy transfer to Europe. The themed section also seeks to explore the changing criminal justice landscape in North America with contributions from some of their most well known criminologists.

 

To view this issue of cjm online from 2 March, please visit the Informaworld website here:   http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=t789039843

Online access to the back catalogue is available free to all Centre for Crime and Justice Studies' members. To find out more about membership click here: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/mem.html

 

Entering this competition could be against the law…but will it be harmful?

As our What is crime? photography competition hots up, new laws under Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act could mean that anyone taking a picture of one the military or police could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to 10 years, if a link to terrorism is proved. Read more here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7888301.stm, and if you’re still willing to take the risk, enter before the 31st March here: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/howtoenter.html

 

Other stuff

Director Richard Garside spoke to a conference on community sentences, drawing on Helen Mills, the Centre’s research and policy associate’s ongoing work. Richard argued that there was little evidence to suggest that community sentences acted as an alternative to prison. There was evidence, however, to suggest that they were contributing to net widening. Meanwhile Jack Straw gave his two-pennies worth about the ‘future of and the challenges facing the probation service,’ at the University of Portsmouth. The enlightening transcript can be read here: Probation and Community Punishment: Speech by Jack Straw (HTML)

 

Helen Mills, attended the seminar 'Gangs in an English City', where Juanjo Medina of the Gangs Research Institute at Manchester University presented the research findings of a three year ethnographic study exploring gangs in two areas in an English City . Discussion included the various approaches to defining gangs, ethnicity and gang discourse, concerning questions about labelling implications of using risk factors to identify support for young people, and the policing of 'problematic' areas. 

 

Coming soon…

 

What is crime? Event - Human Insecurity: harm, crime and injustice at a global level

The What is crime? project continues with a debate introduced by Dr David Roberts, author of Human Insecurity, who will challenge the audience to consider why international relations prioritise matters of terrorism and nuclear weapons, which few people suffer from directly, while for the most part ignoring that around six million infants a year die from avoidable water related illnesses and half a million women avoidably die in pregnancy. Dr Roberts will introduce ideas about how a preventive political and economic strategy might be deployed.  Among others, Dr Roberts will be joined by Vivienne Jabri, Professor of International Politics and the Director of the Centre for International Relations, Kings College London and Dr Simon Pemberton, Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol.

 

The event will be held on Wednesday 29th April 2009, at The River Room, Strand Campus, King’s College London to be followed by snacks, drinks and time for networking. Places are limited for this event so please e-mail your name, organisation (if applicable) and phone number to info@crimeandjustice.org.uk if you would like to reserve a place.

 

Legal’s debate

Public discussion continues about the effectiveness or otherwise of CDS Direct, the legal call centre initiative that came under heavy criticism in the monograph ‘Flying in the face of the evidence’, by Ed Capes and Lee Bridges, published by the Centre. The latest is an exchange of views on the issue in the Law Society Gazette that can be found here http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/features/criminal-defence-call-centres-may-work-are-they-justice  and here http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/opinion/comment/cds-direct-unbalances-scales-justice The Centre is currently planning an invite only seminar later in the year to tease out the issues with key academics and practitioners in attendance. Flying in the face of the evidence can be downloaded here:  http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/cdsdirect.html

 

Take a look at this

 

Dumping and diverting

Two new publications this month explore the position of people with mental ill health and the ‘provision’ and suitability of the criminal justice system. The Prison Reform Trust’s ‘Too Little, Too Late: An Independent Review of Unmet Mental Health Need in Prison’, finds that ‘people who should have been diverted into mental health or social care from police stations or courts are entering prisons, which are ill equipped to meet their needs’. Meanwhile, the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health’s ‘Diversion’ report finds that ‘court diversion and liaison schemes only work with one in five of the people with mental health problems who go through the criminal justice system…and too little is being done to ensure that those with mental health problems make continuing use of community mental health services’. The reports can be accessed here: http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/temp/imbspwebspbriefing.pdf and here http://www.scmh.org.uk/publications/diversion.aspx?ID=593

 

'Deeper' recession will lead to financial crime wave…

reports The Independent, as the ‘Financial Services Authority warns of a vicious cycle of economic decline’. The FSA report can be downloaded here:

www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/plan/financial_risk_outlook_2009.pdf

 

And, the ‘global financial crisis: (is) an acute threat to health’ 

According to this article in The Lancet, volume 373, Issue 9661, Pages 355 - 356, 31 January 2009. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60116-1/fulltext

 

Towards a more equal society? Poverty, inequality and policy since 1997

A study led by John Hills, a leading professor at the London School of Economics, has said that progress in tackling poverty is set to stall owing to entrenched inequalities in British society. The study states that deep seated economic and social pressures may make it more difficult to achieve egalitarian objectives. A summary of the research findings can be read here:  http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/poverty-inequality-and-policy-1997

 

IN THE NEWS

 

`At what age should children be held responsible for their criminal acts?'
The Independent outlines the who, what, why, where and when of the argument. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/the-big-question-at-what-age-should-children-be-held-responsible-for-their-criminal-acts-1546284.html If you want to read The Centre’s director Richard Garside's article on it and the blog responses in the Guardian then go here.  www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/05/uk-age-of-criminal-responsibility

 

Downturn sparks rise in violent abuse cases
The Home Secretary warns that money worries may worsen domestic disputes and lead to violence, as she announces new funding. Refuge the domestic violence charity says donations are falling. The Mirror (11/02/09)  http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/02/11/downturn-sparks-rise-in-violent-abuse-cases-115875-21114022/

 

Recession-hit firms ’use dodges to shed staff without redundancy pay’
Advice groups and tribunals have said that companies seeking to cut staff are avoiding costly redundancy payments by sacking workers for spurious reasons or saying they only face a temporary lay off. The Employment Tribunals Service has said in last 12 months from March 2008 41,000 cases were accepted for consideration. The Guardian (16/02/09)  

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/feb/16/recession-unemployment-redundancy-pay

 

Adviser told to apologise for playing down perils of ecstasy
The Government's chief drugs adviser David Nutt has supposedly apologised for saying that taking ecstasy was no worse than riding a horse after the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told him to apologise. Telegraph (23/02/09) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/4570522/Home-Offices-drugs-adviser-apologises-for-saying-ecstasy-is-no-more-dangerous-than-riding-a-horse.html

 

False leg tagged
`Bret Ravenhill spent three months fighting the urge to break his curfew after a tracking device was fixed to his false leg.' The Sun (23/02/09) http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/justice/article2233642.ece

 

QUOTEs OF THE MONTH

 

`If you mug someone in the street and you are caught, the chances are that you will go to prison. In recent years, mugging someone out of their savings or their pension would probably earn you a yacht'. Sir Ken Macdonald, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, tells The Times (23/02/09) http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article5786911.ece

 

It was like ‘joining a gang of jewellery robbers just after they made the gem heist of the century.’ So says a 32 year old mergers and acquisitions banker who joined a large bank after graduating with an MBA. Financial Times (10/02/09) http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f6af60ba-f712-11dd-8a1f-0000779fd2ac.html

Date Published:

26/02/2009

 

Source:

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies