Analysis and comment on current developments by the Centre's staff, supporters and associates


Politicians' speeches can be disappointing affairs. Eye-catching initiatives are trailed in advance and major announcements promised. In delivery they can savour of anticlimax, offering little more than a predictable hodge-podge of re-announced policy and easy political posturing.


For as long as I can remember there has been a debate about the declaration of criminal convictions to employers. The near 40 year old Rehabilitation of Offenders Act remains the key reference point for policy and practice in this area. Campaign groups have long argued that the Act needs a fundamental overhaul.


The man with a hammer tends to see every problem as a nail. By the same token, the think tank in search of prison as the answer to crime will surely find it.

So it is that Civitas, a think tank that has long argued in favour of higher imprisonment rates, has published a paper arguing that tougher prison sentences result in lower crime.


Richard Garside discusses the problems with government research on youth crime.


Last week I wrote that a coherent plan of action to control and reduce the prison population in the UK was desperately needed to arrest the alarming drift towards ever higher prison numbers.

So what might such a plan look like? How can we downsize prison?

Here are my suggestions, in the form of five propositions.


I’ve been tracking the UK prison population since the beginning of the year to get a sense of some of the underlying trends.

My interest here is the UK prison population, not just the prison population of England and Wales, a figure more commonly the focus of London-based policy elites.


Richard Garside assess calls by Louise Casey for social workers to be more assertive in their dealings with troubled families.


Richard Garside discusses Prison Minister Crispin Blunt's latest speech on the rehabilitation revolution and asks whether results really are the only thing that matter.


An unreferenced version of Professor Tim Hope's introduction to cjm 87, looking at the August 2011 riots.


This review of David Garland's book on capital punishment - 'Peculiar Institution' - first appeared in issue 52(1) of the British Journal of Criminology.