Monthly News Bulletin
Email Bulletin December 2010
Season's Greetings from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies' monthly email bulletin, bringing you a roundup of news, research, political developments, events and updates on our work.
Utopia or Dystopia? Living in hope not fear - Annual Event on 20 January
We're celebrating our eightieth birthday in 2011. To get things started, we'll be getting visionary on 20 January. Is there really no alternative to major cuts to public spending? What kind of future will the cuts create? What are the implications for criminal justice and social justice? Is there a future to be enthusiastic about? Or should we all go home and hide under the duvet?
We will be asking Baroness Vivien Stern and Professor David Nutt along with other leading practitioners, academics and campaigners to kick the discussion off by telling us what their hopes and fears are. The discussion will be chaired by the Centre's director Richard Garside and we hope that you come along and have your say.
The discussion will be followed by a reception where we will be celebrating the announcement of our new association with the Open University, about which more details will be given on the night.
To register for the event, please email your name and organisation details to: . More information can be found on our website.
WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?
Getting away with murder?
British state sanctioned violence is routine, for the most unaccountable, and continues to wreak havoc on the lives of people in the UK and abroad, according to our December issue of Criminal Justice Matters. Dr Dave Whyte of Liverpool University has edited a themed issue on Violence of the British state with a series of disturbing accounts of violence permitted under the watch of the British state. Click here to view the contents list and read Dave Whyte's introduction. View the press release here
Join the debate on language in criminal justice
Do you love or hate the word `offenders'? What do you think about the use of language in criminal justice by the media, academics and politicians? Read `Debating.... Bad language in criminal justice' with contributions from Frances Crook, Jonathan Simon, Mike Nellis, Simon Pemberton and Nils Christie, as debated on Radio 4's Today Programme. The article is available to download free of charge here and sections of it are being debated on the Works for Freedom website where you can read and comment on articles visit Works for Freedom or send your blog suggestions to
Rehabilitation and reform
Research Associate Helen Mills wrote a piece in the Guardian Comment is Free on community sentences and penal reform in relation to the Coalition's `rehabilitation revolution'.
June cjm - the government's drugs policy review - call for articles
The government has just published `Drug strategy 2010 reducing demand, restricting supply, building recovery.' You can find it here.
The June issue of cjm will carry a special themed section on the strategy co-edited by Professor David Nutt and the Centre's Policy Director Will McMahon. We are inviting contributions - if you would like to write 1600 words on this theme then send us a 100 word précis of your suggested article by Monday January 10. Send your proposal to or find out more here.
Roger Grimshaw was interviewed for a piece in The Prisma entitled `Why is London so Dangerous?' and we got a mention in Parliament here.
Helen Mills was interviewed by City university students about the Coalition's proposals for prison and probation.
We are now on Facebook. To get news updates and to follow us, click here.
Lessons for the coalition
`New Labour and Criminal Justice 1997-2010: An End of Term Report' will provide food for thought for the coalition government by presenting an authoritative, independent assessment of New Labour's performance in key areas of the criminal justice system. It will also explore how legislative and policy activity in this period impacted on practice and research. Publication is expected in mid-January 2011.
Liverpool Community Justice Centre report
In January the Centre's long awaited report about the Liverpool Community Justice Centre will be published. Apologies to all who have been waiting...some promised data has just surfaced.
Criminal justice under the coalition
On 18 February the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and the Centre for Legal Research at the University of the West of England, and the Legal Research Institute at the School of Law in the University of Warwick will hold an invite only seminar with a focus on thinking critically about the coalition's approach to criminal justice processes. A publication will result later in the year.
TAKE A LOOK AT THIS...
A way with words
`User views of punishment: What the punished think about their short term prison and community sentences' published by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research looks at peoples' experience of punishment in Scotland. The language used in the report is particularly poignant as it refers to `the punished' rather than `offenders'.
Access to justice denied
Centre interns Alison Quinn and Mel Kerrison went to the launch seminar of `Access to justice denied' at the House of Commons, about the effects of putting 18-24 year-olds through an adult penal system when they may need more guidance and could benefit from something more similar to youth justice.
Sex offenders could look after children
`Child and Family Law Quarterly' carries research suggesting that sex offenders should not be banned from adopting, fostering or working with children: `Sex offenders shouldn't all be tarred with the same brush. People need to be carefully screened for adoption and fostering, but each case should be taken on its merits.' For the press release click here
Reducing reoffending in youth
The National Audit Office has found that `reoffending rates for young people leaving a custodial sentence have dropped by only 2% since 2000, and reoffending by young people who get the longer community sentences actually rose by 6%...' the Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts Margaret Hodge said `...is regrettable to see that practitioners have so little robust evidence about which of their many activities are most effective'. For the full statement visit here
Thinking allowed on young people and territory
Professor Laurie Taylor talks to criminologist Judith Aldridge about how territory influences youth behaviour on the Radio 4 programme Thinking Allowed.
Green Paper evidence
A new Green Paper `Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders' has been published and Research Director Roger Grimshaw's report `Place to call your own - Does Housing Need make a Difference to Crime? (2002)' gets a mention.
IN THE NEWS
The Independent Police Complaints Commission notes have found 333 deaths in custody but no police officers convicted despite `relatively strong evidence of misconduct or neglect.' Apparently juries are unwilling to convict officers. The Guardian (03/12/10)
Cracking David Nutt
Professor David Nutt was interviewed by Decca Aitkenhead in The Guardian G2 (6/12/10) about government drug policy and the irrational thinking behind the classification of drugs. On the same day The Times p18 headlines 'Ministers to set drug policy without scientific advice' - a story reporting the government is planning to strip ACMD scientists of their statutory role.
Group of young black men asked to pay in advance for pizza...
Pizza Hut was accused of racism after asking a group of black professional footballers to pay in advance for their meals as a table of white youngsters seated nearby were allowed to settle up after eating. The five AFC Bournemouth players were told to pay up front because of `the way you lot look.' For more see The Mirror (07/12/10).
Fred the Shred cleared
`Shamed banker Fred Goodwin cleared of "dishonest activity" in collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland'. The Daily Record (03/12/10)
Judge Judy in the UK?
There has been a call by John Ryley, head of Sky News, to allow television cameras into court in order to restore public faith in the criminal justice system. For the full article see the Guardian (6/12/10)
A Nottinghamshire council has used anti-terror laws in a long term surveillance operation against a potato and carrot thief in order to reduce crime figures. (Sunday Times 05/12/10)
MANY QUOTES OF THE MONTH
`A f****** travesty'...
...and 'I'll never set foot in a court again' said Judge Beatrice Bolton while storming out of court after being convicted of failing to control her dangerous dog. See more in the Independent
Law and order
`Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor'.
Adam Smith, 1776
`It ain't a nice road but at the end of the day you don't expect someone to nick your snowman, do you know what I mean?'
Quote from conversation with 999 operator reporting the theft of a snowman. BBC website
Newsnight - do prisons work?
`Prison always harms a person' said Peter Dawson Governor of HMP High Down when BBC Newsnight visited the Surrey prison to debate whether prisons work. Some blog discussion can be found here
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