Our latest bulletin, sent out on 30 July 2021.
At the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, we place great weight on our contribution to the wider movement for change.
Over the past decade, for instance, we have supported the creation of three organisations: DrugScience, One Small Thing and The Community Plan. All three, in different ways, are taking forward work initially hosted, incubated or developed by us.
Another way we have sought to support a wider network of organisations has been by making our meeting room available to partner organisations.
Prior to lockdown, we did this on a fairly ad hoc basis. Post-lockdown, we want to build on this, opening up our building and its facilities to a range of partners working in criminal justice who share our values.
This might involve use of our meeting spaces, or access to quiet workspace. It could involve a range of pricing options, including low- or no-cost use to small, volunteer-led groups with limited financial resources.
If you have thoughts and suggestions for us as we develop our plans, please share them with us here.
We have a busy schedule of events from September onwards. You can browse the events and register here.
This stand-alone webinar featuring Professor Rosa Freedman and Professor Jo Phoenix will be a conversation about where legitimate protest ends, and cancellation and silence begins.
Our first episode of 'Lunch with...' will feature Frances Crook. Other guests lined up so far are Khatuna Tsintsadze, Suresh Grover and Pragna Patel. We'll shortly be announcing more of our guest speakers so keep an eye out in future e-Bulletins.
Last month in criminal justice
Our first edition of this new series will feature Gemma Buckland in discussion with Richard Garside and Matt Ford on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Richard, Matt and Gemma will also take a look at political party conference speeches, and the key criminal justice developments over the summer.
Last week we launched an interactive map of prisons which enables you to explore the prison in your local area, the footprint it occupies, and how it relates to its surroundings. This is the first of a number of resources we will be producing to support local and national initiatives.
The visual resource aims to stimulate thinking about alternative ways your local prison site could be used.
Over the coming months we will be publicising the project in areas with prisons and producing resources for local residents on how to start conversations on better uses for the land currently occupied by prisons. Then in late autumn, we’ll be holding a launch webinar where people can share ideas.
News and commentary
We have signed a letter calling on the government to scrap the proposed 500 new prison places for women. The letter, written by Women in Prison, has been signed by 70 organisations and urges the Prisons Minister to re-think plans to expand the women's estate. Spread the word, #stopthe500 and sign the petition to the Prisons Minister.
In a letter in The Guardian, one of our trustees, Professor Jo Phoenix, has written about the perils of deplatforming in universities. Ethical teaching and research practice, Jo argues in the letter, is about engaging with a range of perspectives, and exposing students to the full knowledge base. Deplatforming, on the other hand, where certain positions and perspectives are ruled out in advance, is contrary to academic ethics, she writes. Register for our forthcoming event to hear Jo speak on this topic.
Mike Guilfoyle's piece this month traces his experience supervising two different clients who had two different outcomes.
No new prisons for women! Rona Epstein and Paula Harriott respond to the government's plans to expand the women's estate. Women need support centres, not prisons.
This month's Critical Care article is the first of several related pieces that explore how commercial pressures and populist tendencies undermine efforts to respond to the complex issues of trauma in individuals, communities and wider society.
An eye on criminal justice
Deep Deception: The story of the spycop network, by the women who uncovered the shocking truth tracks the impact of police spying on five women who were deceived into relationships with police spies and subsequently held the police to account. Announced by Police Spies Out of Lives, the book will be published in early 2022. You can watch one of the co-authors, Helen Steel amongt other speakers and victims of undercover policing talking at a conference we co-organised in 2016 here.
The Alliance for Youth Justice have published their findings on the impact of COVID-19 on the youth justice system, as part of a wider series tracing the response of the sector to the pandemic. The report emphasises the stress placed on children in custody from the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions and regimes. These included restrictions on visitation and provision of education in custody. This, according to the report, effectively amounted to enforced solitary confinement, coming from a centralised authority with little flexibility on the local level. What effect is this going to have on children in the aftermath of the pandemic? Find out more here.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the Government's 'Beating Crime Plan'. Aside from giving the police more tasers and body-worn cameras, the plan includes some concerning measures we at the Centre have previously scrutinised, including:
- Ramping up the use of electronic monitoring (EM). According to Roger Grimshaw and Mike Nellis, fundamental questions need to be asked about EM before increasing its use. There are no serious discussions taking place on legitimacy, proportionality and compliance. EM and curfews, according to Nellis, are based on a faulty calculus of compliance. You can read our back catalogue of expert commentary, on EM here.
- Permanent relaxation on the use of section 60 stop and search powers. Such relaxation of section 60 powers permits the police to stop and search anyone without suspicion. According to Katrina Ffrench, black people are 18 times more likely to be stopped than white people .Ffrench called on the government to invest in prevention, not expansion of police powers. We published research by Matteo Tiratelli and Ben Bradford in 2019, which found little evidence of the effectiveness of stop and search on crime reduction.
Working for a better future
It is time for a serious conversation about the land our prisons occupy, and for action to put that land to better use.
Can you help us build this movement by making a donation?