Influencing change in the criminal justice sector: Sentencing reform

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

We're pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant of £55,676 by the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales as part of their new 2020 Criminal Justice National Programme. 

Our primary project goal is to promote sentencing reform and community-based responses to lawbreaking to contribute to enduring reductions in the short-term prison population. 

We aim to achieve this through a range of activities including network-building, gathering a range of expert perspectives, developing a menu of options for sentencing reform and producing an accessible, evidence-based policy guide promoted through influencing activities. 

Our Head of Programmes, Helen Mills said: 

Over 60 per cent of those sent to prison each year receive a sentence of less than a year. Through the 2020 Criminal Justice National Programme we want to identify the most transformative options for addressing this reliance on imprisonment so that the Centre and others have a strong platform to advocate for impactful reforms with the potential for sustained long-term reductions in imprisonment. We are delighted to be part of this programme and look forward to working with the Lloyds Bank Foundation and our fellow grant holders in the coming months.

The criminal justice system is currently under extreme pressure, facing staff shortages, dangerous levels of overcrowding, assaults and self-harm at record levels, the part-privatisation of probation having comprehensively failed and high rates of reoffending.

Small specialist charities like ours have had huge success in our objectives to educate public audiences on criminalisation and promoting solutions to social problems outside of the criminal justice system. Yet, despite this expertise and track record, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and other specialist charities are still not properly involved in how prisons and the probation service are funded and organised. 

The Foundation's programme funding supports a range of voluntary sector criminal justice organisations to: 

  • Make the case for better alternatives to prison, by intervening earlier to prevent crime and reduce the number of people going to prison
  • Improve how groups disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system are treated, such as BAME prisoners, young people and women
  • Improve how the prison and probation service work, in particular by ensuring that specialist and small charities are properly involved and funded

If you would like more information on the project, please contact Tammy McGloughlin

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