Our July 2015 ebulletin is out now!

Monday, 3 August 2015


We currently have a 
self-contained, air-conditioned, ground floor office space for rent with use of shared kitchen and toilets and a heavily discounted rate for use of our meeting room.

For further information, please contact us on 020 7840 6110 or email



Getting hooked on mass GPS surveillance
At the start of the month our Research and Policy Associate, Catherine Heard, wrote a blog about who stands to benefit from the rapidly expanding use of GPS surveillance.

Imposing austerity through nationalisation
Why is a government committed to budget cuts and privatisation of public services deploying the Public Defender Service (essentially public service lawyers) to pick up cases? Our Director Richard Garside explains.

Giving the young'uns a chance
Writing about comments made by the Children's Commissioner earlier this month, our Research Director Roger Grimshaw asks if children being looked after by the state should be able to access public care until they are 25 years-old.   

I would build...a blueprint for change
The latest instalment in our 'I would build...' series comes from our very own Senior Research Associate Rebecca Roberts. Rebecca outlines how we developed our thinking about the failures of criminal justice and the need for radical alternatives which led to us setting up our Justice Matters project. Rebecca invites you to join us in the next stage of Justice Matters, by helping us build a blueprint for change that ultimately leads to the creation of a safe, just and sustainable society in which we no longer rely on punishment and control to resolve harm.    

We welcome the scraping of the 'secure college'
We welcome the decision taken by the Ministry of Justice this month to scrap its plans for the so-called 'secure college' for young prisoners. Read what our Director had to say about it.

Shock and law
This month we held a roundtable to discuss the implications of the growing use of Tasers in the UK. It was great debate with a diverse range of perspectives from police officers who manage Taser strategy and human rights advocates who have concerns about Taser use. Our Deputy Director Will McMahon was quoted on the issue in The Independent.

Richard walked 500 miles...
In April our Director Richard Garside went up to the Open University in Edinburgh to give a presentation on Scottish criminal justice policy. It's now available to read online.

One Small Thing
Read the first ever newsletter for our project, One Small Thing, launched last month.

Changes to membership 
We want to make it easier for people to support our work and to help us to plan our future activities, so we've made our membership structure simpler and cheaper. Read more and join up today!

Having a break after 26 years
We've decided to redevelop our quarterly magazine, Criminal Justice Matters, to make it even better! It will mean that we have to pause it for a year just to give us time and space to rethink the format, but we'll relaunch a new and improved cjm in 2017. But have no fear, you can read all the articles from the 100th issue now for free!


'I would build...a humane asylum system'
Dr Victoria Canning made a contribution to our 'I would build...' series this month, arguing that we need to replace the current punitive, othering and criminalising asylum system which currently exists with a humane one.

A little knowledge can be a bad thing
David Scott and Helena Gosling briefly explore the strengths and weaknesses of short visits to therapeutic communities based on their visits to residential communities. 

Deaths in custody: A critical review of Harris
J M Moore critically assesses the recent Harris Review into self-inflicted deaths of young people in prison, and asks if it is just another example of an official inquiry seeking to restore the legitimacy of an inherently flawed institution.

Does school prepare men for prison?
Dr Karen Graham makes the case for challenging the punitive 'disciplinary' practices used in schools and ask how treating children as prisoners in training has come to be justified.

Commercial misjudgement
Rob Allen questions why the Magistrates' Association is asking private companies to sponsor its research work.

Police Scotland reform was long overdue
Former Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MSP argues that despite recent controversy over Police Scotland, its creation was long overdue. What do you think? If you have an alternative perspective please email our Director Richard Garside.

A 'radical and ambitious' approach for women who break the law
With a focus on Scotland, David Scott and Helena Gosling report on therapeutic communities and radical alternatives to prison.

'It's not right that we get punished and the punters get away with it'
Mike Guilfoyle gives us another account of his time as a probation officer. 

Prison Service Journal
The latest issue of the Prison Service Journal is out now. This edition includes articles with a focus on youth imprisonment, the experience of state care, immigration detention and community punishment.


What do young black Londoners think about the ethnic penalty?
On 3 September we're holding an event in collaboration with the 20:20 Change Foundation to seek the views of young black Londoners about our ethnic penalty work. This event is invitation only but if you would like to find out more about it or would like to hold a community consultation on the ethnic penalty then please email our Deputy Director Will McMahon.

When evidence and politics collide: The David Nutt affair
On Monday, 14 September we're hosting a roundtable where we'll draw on the lessons learned from the sacking of David Nutt as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to explore how we can ensure that public policy is grounded in evidence and reason, rather than politics and prejudice. 

What shapes trends in crime?
On Friday, 18 September we're holding an event that will draw on new research to discuss why crime rose so much during the 1980s and the implications for current policy. 


Dismantling criminal justice and creating a just society
Friends over at the Reclaim Justice Network are holding a public meeting on 10 September, 7.30 to 9pm, to debate how we can stop punishing so many people and how we can campaign to downsize criminal justice.

What happens in a joint enterprise trial?
If you're curious about the strange goings-on in joint enterprise cases then read this great article by a trainee barrister about a trial he observed in Birmingham.

Mental illness and jails: race is left out of the equation
James Kilgore, writing in Truthoutexplains how current initiatives in the US to treat people with mental illnesses in the community rather than incarcerate them omit any mention of race.

IN THE NEWS.......

Sharp rise in police Taser use
Police use of Tasers in England and Wales has risen by half over the last five years according to Home Office figures released this month.

Inquiry into police spying begins
This month Lord Justice Pitchford opened the inquiry into the activities of undercover policemen with regard to justice campaigners and political activists, reports BBC News.

Review into deaths in police custody announced
Theresa May has announced plans for an independent review into deaths in police custody, The Independent reports.

Whitehall can't scrutinise over £20 billion of outsourcing contracts
Two thirds of the £35 billion worth of government contracts held by private companies can't be scrutinised properly by Whitehall, reports The Guardian.


11 - the number of people who died in or following police custody in 2013-14.
17 - the number of people who died in or following police custody in 2014-15.

Source: Deaths during or following police contact: statistics for England and Wales 2014/15

£1.22 billion - the extra cost of holding prisoners due to the rapid increase in the prison population over the last 20 years.   
56,000 - the number of newly qualified nurses that could be employed with that extra money. 

Source: Prison: The Facts, by the Prison Reform Trust

Here's a little infographic showing trends in police Taser use from 2010 to 2014:


'Through its reach and impact, the prison industrial complex helps secure the authority of people who get their power through racial, economic and other structural privileges by defending current power distributions. It benefits government and industry, as well as other individuals who already hold power in our society.' Rachel Herzing writing in Defending Justice.


And finally, it is with great sadness that we announce the death of Irene Frost on 3 July, aged 87. Irene was the secretary at the Centre when it was still known as the Institute for the Scientific Study of Delinquency. Her funeral was held on the 17 July.


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