Our February 2016 ebulletin is out now!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

2016 Eve Saville Memorial Lecture: Has violent crime fallen?

Professor Sylvia Walby will be speaking about her ground-breaking research on Tuesday, 12 April.

Book today to avoid disappointment.


Bye-bye Catherine 
This month we said goodbye to Catherine Heard, who had worked with us since November 2014. Catherine had been covering maternity leave for Helen Mills. We're really grateful for all her hard work on our Alternatives to Custody in Europe project, her positive contributions to discussions, and for being such a pleasure to work with. We wish Catherine all the best for the future.

Sugar-coating a toxic pill
David Cameron outlined his thoughts on how best to reform the prison system. While many have applauded the speech, we fear the proposals are more about the expansion and privatisation of criminal justice, rather than a serious attempt to address the problems in our criminal justice system. Read our response to the Prime Minister's prison reform speech. Our Deputy Director, Will McMahon, and Senior Research Associate, Rebecca Roberts, writing for openDemocracyUK, argue that the reforms are about asset stripping and deregulation. 

The New Labour crime policies of Cameron and Corbyn
The Centre's Director, Richard Garside wrote about the the problems with Corbyn's approach to policing and Cameron's policy on prisons.

Throwing good money after bad
Richard Garside also called for the Ministry of Justice to halt plans to purchase off-the-shelf satellite tagging technology. His comments followed this month's announcement that they are shelving its controversial programme to develop a bespoke satellite tagging programme. 

Children are not commodities to be bought and sold
G4S is selling off its UK children's services business, comprising 13 children's homes and 2 child prisons. The controversial security company described the sale as part of 'its ongoing review of its portfolio of business'. See what we had to say about that.

Only half the picture
Also this month, the PM announced a review of 'racial bias' in the criminal justice system from the point of arrest. The review will be led by David Lammy, MP for Tottenham. We responded, calling for the review to explore the factors that lead to the over-policing and punishment of black and minority ethnic people. 

Dangerous Associations
In case you missed it, last month we published a report which tracked part of the complex criminalisation process by which black and minority ethnic people are unfairly identified as 'gang' members, and prosecuted under joint enterprise for offences they have not committed. This month the Supreme Court made a historic ruling that joint enterprise has been misinterpreted for the last 30 years. Well done and congratulations to JENGbA and all the other campaigners for pursuing this. 

Labour MP Chuka Umunna referenced our report on joint enterprise in parliament, questioning the validity of the 'gang' concept.

Director comments on Cliff Richard allegations
Our Director, Richard Garside, was quoted in a Sunday Mirror article on the investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Cliff Richard. Read about it here.

And finally....
After 26 years of publication, we are pausing the production of our magazine, Criminal Justice Matters (cjm). During 2016 we will be taking stock of the magazine's achievements and planning how best to continue to offer what has been the hallmark of cjm at its best: an informed and concrete analysis of justice and social harm developments, written in an accessible manner. The last issue of 2015 is now available free of charge on our website. Over the coming months we will continue to upload many more articles so that our members and supporters can access the archive.


Breaking the silence
In the latest instalment of our series about the traumatic personal histories of women in prison, Madeline Petrillo tells Misha's story of imprisonment, sexual violence and her hopes for the future.

'Troubled Families is a fraudulent scam'
Read this account from an anonymous social worker with frontline experience of the Troubled Families programme about how the policy is 'a waste of public funds'.

Do what David Does
Former senior civil servant at the Home Office, David Faulkner, provides a list of rules that ministers and practitioners might usefully follow.

Being able to be a great husband and father
Read Mike Guilfoyle's reflections on supervising a man convicted of domestic violence.

British Journal of Criminology
The March issue of the British Journal of Criminology (Volume 56 issue 2) is now available.


Responding to drug harms: Can the UK learn from Portugal?
We are pleased to announce a new event on our upcoming schedule. At this event on 16 May one of the architects of Portugal's health-led drugs strategy, João Goulão, will present the learning from their ambitious approach. João will be joined by a number of UK based speakers who have signalled an interest in moving away from our current reliance on criminalisation in response to drug harms. They include, Mike Barton, Chief Constable for Durham Constabulary; Niamh Eastwood, Executive Director, Release; Kenny MacAskill MSP; Baroness Meacher, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform.

The health of prison staff - what does the evidence tell us?
Recent research studies show that prison officers are suffering ever greater levels of physical and emotional stress and governors speak of long working hours and increased workload. This event on 1 March will discuss the origins of the high levels of stress and low levels of well-being experienced when working in the prison service.

Is violence against women rising? Eve Saville Memorial Lecture
On 12 April, Professor Sylvia Walby will be discussing her ground-breaking research questioning official claims that violence has been declining in England and Wales since the mid-1990s. She will show women have faced rising violence since the 2008 financial crisis, especially domestic violence. At the same time, violence against men has fallen.

Book sale part two: evening opening
We're clearing out our analogue library and inviting people to take away books and journals, mainly from the 1970s to the 2000s, in return for reasonable offers. So tune up your haggling skills and get down to the second sale on March 30 where we'll be opening 2pm to 7.30pm so that you can come after work.

Armed Forces veterans under probation supervision
The Centre is working in partnership with the Probation Institute to understand how far the needs of Armed Forces veterans are being met. We're holding three stakeholder events to provide opportunities for attendees to contribute knowledge and experience, as well as to network with like-minded professionals. The events are:

  • Bristol on Tuesday, 19 April
  • London on Monday, 25 April
  • Leeds on Wednesday, 27 April

If you work in probation or the voluntary sector and have responsibility for veterans under probation supervision please sign up and come along! And please circulate to any of your colleagues who work in this area.


Sarah Reed's mother talks about her daughter's death in prison
Marylin Reed, mother of Sarah Reed who died in Holloway prison in January, talks about her daughter in this article in The Guardian. Sarah Reed had suffered mental health problems since she lost her new-born baby in September 2003. In 2012, CCTV footage showed her being brutally beaten by a police officer. 

Inside Oakwood
This revealing article about G4S run HMP Oakwood is part of a series about dire conditions in prison by Amelia Gentleman, who has been given access to two establishments.

What next for the women of Holloway prison?
The Reclaim Justice Network will be holding a public meeting to discuss what the closure of the prison means for women prisoners, the local community and for the housing crisis in London. Speakers include Professor Marjorie Mayo (Islington Kill the Housing Bill) and Maureen Mansfield (Women in Prison).

Black Panthers: Vanguard of the revolution
Check out this documentary on BBCiplayer about the Black Panther Party.


Three in ten female rape victims known to police under 16
An analysis of recorded crime data from 13 police forces reveals that three in ten female victims of rape that come to the attention of the police are under 16 years old, The Guardian reported.

Thousands of injuries to child prisoners not disclosed
Official statistics have not counted thousands of injuries to child prisoners caused during restraint, reported The Guardian. The total number of injuries is actually five times higher than previously suggested.

Prison staff failing prisoners at risk of suicide
The Prisons Ombudsman has said prison staff are regularly overlooking warning signs that prisoners might take their own lives, reported The Huffington Post.

Chris Grayling tried to interfere with prison inspection reports
Former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling tried to interfere with highly critical inspection reports by outgoing Prisons Inspector Nick Hardwick, The Guardian reported.

Free school for 'troubled children' to open in September
A free school for 'troubled children' with a 'crime-specific curriculum' set up by the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner is to open in September, reported The Guardian.


949 - the number of restraint injuries to children previously disclosed by the government 

4,261 - the number of restraint injuries to children once you take into account those not requiring medical or hospital treatment 

Source: Parliamentary answer by Mike Penning.


''The problem facing Islington is one of a shortage of available land. It is very scarce in the borough. Every decision to use it or redevelop it must be measured against this background. This is the problem which determines our priorities for action. It is against this background that the decision to redevelop Holloway Prison on its present site in Islington should be viewed and seen to be the public scandal which it is.

'Should this plan proceed, it would prematurely deprive nearly 1,300 people of a decent home, and their children of somewhere to play. The opportunity for Islington Council to build homes on land where it has not first been necessary to rehouse more families than will be able to return is the only sure hope that it will be able to solve the many problems arising from its earlier development.'

Michael O'Halloran, former MP for Islington North, speaking in a parliamentary debate in May 1970.

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