Monthly News Bulletin
Email Bulletin October 2010
What have we been up to?
Research, publication and now dissemination... the Centre's criminal justice spending briefings and the spending cuts debate
Richard Garside, our director, was the Home Affairs expert for the Sky News day-long coverage of the Spending Review on Oct 20. Richard provided ongoing analysis of the implications of the cuts for prisons, probation, courts and the police throughout the day, using the Centre's recent spending briefings as source material. Other experts included Ekow Eshun of the Institute of Contemporary Arts on culture, Andrew Simms from the New Economics Foundation on the environment and Professor Julien Le Grand of the London School of Economics on health.
Richard was also quoted in the Financial Times, arguing that the police had been the `big winners' among the criminal justice agencies, escaping from the big cuts that legal aid, courts, prison and probation faced and also wrote for the Guardian on criminal justice on the day the spending cuts were announced. This can be found here on the Works for Freedom blog.
The day after the spending cuts were announced The Centre's research director, Roger Grimshaw, gave the presentation `Police Spending and Public Service Reform', based on the Centre's spending briefs, to a conference in London on `Delivering Efficiency Savings in the Police'. Delegates were drawn from across police forces, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, and various private sector firms. The event was overshadowed by the government's announcements of a headline `real terms' 20 per cent cut in its police funding by 2014-15.
Associate Arianna Silvestri attended the Criminal Justice Management conference on 6 October in London. Policy Director Will McMahon attended an event titled `Our memories of the uprisings: the 1980s revisited' held at the British Library.
Liverpool Community Justice Centre report
In November the Centre will be publishing a report about the Liverpool Community Justice Centre. Please contact if you would like to know when this report is available if you are not a CCJS member.
Take a look at this
Money well spent
A new Justice Policy Institute report examines the relationship between poverty and involvement in the justice system in the United States; the report finds that focusing on the well-being of individuals and communities helped improve public safety and offers recommendations on how to prevent poverty. You can find the report here.
Arguing about the cuts
Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, speaking to the October Capita Welfare Reform Conference in October on the cuts, argues that the new system will be one `that works for the poorest and most vulnerable.' The Public and Commercial Services Union begs to differ and suggests alternatives here. Meanwhile, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation thinks that some cuts are needed but voices concern on the effect they will have on people in poverty.
Criminal justice reform on the Today programme
Roger Graef on the Today Programme (22/10/2010)) supports Kenneth Clarke's plans to eliminate short prison sentences and to expand restorative justice within the criminal justice system. This is part of a recent series of discussion reports held on the Today Programme.
Accelerated removals: a study of the human cost of EU deportation policies
New Institute of Race Relations research shows the human cost in terms of immigration death from the EU budget cuts for refugee integration and the accelerated pace for removals. The report, Accelerated removals: a study of the human cost of EU deportation policies, 2009-2010, highlights that most deaths were from acts of suicide over the fear of being deported or deaths that could have been avoided if asylum seekers were given proper medical treatment.
`Regulatory Surrender: death, injury and the non-enforcement of law'
Published by the Institute of Employment Rights, authored by Steve Tombs and David Whyte, Regulatory surrender: death, injury and the non-enforcement of law argues that the New Labour government's desire to reduce the 'burdens' on businesses has emasculated the regulatory system. One key finding is a 63 per cent decline in investigations of safety incidents at work.
Two reports from Europe...
Two reports have recently been published by the European Commission. Domestic Violence Against Women explores the evolving attitude that Europe has on domestic violence. The report found that one in four people know a female victim of domestic violence within their close circle of friends and family. The Road Safety report analysed the attitudes people in Europe hold on perceived dangers whilst driving, with 94 per cent of Europeans deemed driving under the influence of alcohol being seen as the most dangerous threat. To see the full report click here.
Many people do not think that life should mean life for murder
The first detailed research into views about sentencing for murder has been carried out. It has emerged that almost half of the public do not believe that murderers should be imprisoned for life. The BBC's Clive Coleman has been finding out more. The research can be found here.
In the news
Torture, murder, GBH...and no further investigation
Up to 400,000 US files being released by Wikileaks claim the American military turned a blind eye to torture in Iraq by Iraqis. The files published by Wikileaks highlight the apparent torture of Iraqi citizens by the Iraqi authorities. According to the BBC, the files indicate that the US knew of this abuse but `reports were sent up the chain of command marked "no further investigation"'. Meanwhile, British military interrogators have been trained to humiliate prisoners by `keeping them naked' to answer questions (The Times, 26/10/2010). Whilst on this topic, keep a look out for the upcoming December Criminal Justice Matters issue on `Violence of the British state'. If you don't already receive cjm, why not find out more about becoming a member of the Centre here.
Higher, higher...lower, lower?
The prison population statistics have been published. The secret diary of a civil servant from The Observer (24/10/2010) responds to the cuts in the public sector, branding the target of 3,000 fewer prisoners by 2014 a `joke'.
This is one way to fight police spending cuts...
Following the recent police unrest in Ecuador over cuts in benefits for civil servants, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said that there will be `no forgiveness' for those who rebelled against him. President Correa had to be rescued from hospital by the army after being ambushed by disaffected police. The BBC has a full report on the recent events in Ecuador. Meanwhile in Britain, the watchdog warns that public safety may be put at risk when police cuts occur. The Telegraph (26/10/2010)
80 per cent of young offenders struggling to access legal advice
Black and female young offenders have been denied legal advice in young offenders' institutions due to it sometimes not being available. A report into young offenders found that 80 per cent of young offenders struggling to access legal advice were from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, of which 9 per cent are female. Chris Challender, assistant director of the Howard League said there had been a `systematic failure by local authorities to meet the welfare needs of young people leaving custody'. The Guardian (06/10/2010)
The Financial Times (19/10/2010) has reported that the private sector see profitability in `offender management'. Ben Crewe, from Cambridge University's Institute of Criminology, spoke to the Financial Times about the variability of performances for company-run prisons. `The best private prisons are-relatively speaking-very good...however, the worse-performing ones are poor in most areas.' FT (15/10/2010) also reports that the private security company, G4S, is starting to rent out their cells to police forces.
`Why prisoners working is a rubbish idea'
Kenneth Clarke has caused a stir by announcing proposals for prisoners to work full time whilst receiving the national minimum wage. Mark Johnson, The Guardian (20/10/2010), questions the effectiveness of prisoners working. `How can people with mental health and addiction problems work a 40-hour week, and with almost no supervision?' With the obstacles of staff allocation to supervise prisoners working, and the issue of large-scale employment availability, Johnson argues that working low-paid jobs would be meaningless to prisoners unless it is part of a `constructive programme of rehabilitation'. The Daily Telegraph (06/10/2010) has also voiced its concerns over prison jobs taking jobs off `law-abiding' citizens. The Prison Governor's Association raised the issue of employment opportunities available with the current economic situation.
Spying, lying and public surveillance
The Guardian (01/10/2010) reveals that police in Birmingham misled residents into believing that CCTV was being installed to combat vehicle crime and antisocial behaviour. In fact, Project Champion was implemented to place thousands of Muslims under surveillance with no regard to the law. There have been no resignations over Project Champion. Meanwhile, it has been reported that a £2 billion plan to allow the police to track email, text, internet and mobile phone details of everyone in the UK is to be restored. The Guardian (22/10/2010). Despite the Coalition agreeing to the scrapping of the `surveillance state' this project has been quietly revived. Also, a website has been paying the public to observe live CCTV footage in order to supposedly catch people up to no good. The Guardian (05/10/2010). The website, Internet Eyes, which offers up to £1,000 to online subscribers, has been heavily criticised by civil liberties campaigners.
Not as equal as we thought we were?
A report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found that that the proportion of black people in prison in England and Wales is higher than in the United States. The Guardian 10/11/2010). According to the report, the incarceration of black people is seven times higher than their share of the population, compared with four times greater in the United States. In light of the recent death of Jimmy Mubenga, Melanie McFadyean comments on society's attitude towards asylum seekers. The Guardian (22/10/2010) has also reported on private security firm G4S being investigated by the UK Border Agency after allegations of the mistreatment of another man being forcibly deported after being refused asylum.
`It's a bit rich for Osborne and Co to call £40,000 a year affluence'
Peter Oborne gives it to the Coalition with one barrel.
Mark Serwotka gives it to the coalition with a double barrel.
Zoe Williams deems the suggestion that the UK follow US policy on individuals convicted of alcohol offences as `done after a night watching The Shawshank Redemption'.
`Axing the Youth Justice Board could be a bold step' argues former Board chair in The Guardian (27/10/2010)
Quote(s) of the month
A modest thought...
`Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.'
Jonathan Swift, 1707
Return of the `nasty party'?
`The number of children that you have is a choice. And what we're saying is that if people are living on benefits then they make choices but they also have to have responsibility for those choices. It's not going to be the role of the state to finance those choices.'
Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Newsnight, BBC2, Oct 6.
And a cartoon of the month... The Guardian, (13/10/2010).
For any feedback, please email our bulletin editor at