Our June 2015 ebulletin is now available

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


Fourth UK Justice Policy Review
We've just released the fourth edition of UK Justice Policy Review, our annual report tracking year-on-year developments in criminal justice and social welfare across the UK. This volume includes the first UK-wide analysis of suicide, self-harm and assaults in prisons in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The report is produced with the support of The Hadley Trust. Click here to read more and download the publication for free.

The ongoing electronic monitoring scandal
Our Research and Policy Assistant, Matt Ford, did some digging around in Ministry of Justice spending data and found that G4S and Serco are still being paid millions for supplying electronic monitoring equipment, years after the overcharging scandal. We've had media coverage of the story in The Guardian, and SputnikRead all about it here.

One Small Thing makes all the difference
We are pleased to announce our new project, One Small Thing. Recognising that the traumatic pasts of criminalised women affect their present, One Small Thing will work with staff in women's prisons and in the community, developing approaches grounded in understanding and fostering positive outcomes for all. We call this trauma-informed practice.

The One Show makes all the difference
Our Director Richard Garside hit prime time telly at the start of this month. He was on The One Show talking about falling police numbers. Read more and watch the show here.

Time for an overhaul
Following Tim Hope's comment piece last month calling for a major overhaul of the Crime Survey, the debate about the reliability of crime stats has continued. We've summarised some of the key points and Richard Garside has written about the reliability of police recorded crime. Read all about it here

Why have alternatives not cut prison numbers?
As part of our alternatives to custody in Europe project, we held a workshop this month to explore why expansion in the use of alternatives has not resulted in any reduction in prisoner numbers in the UK. You can watch some of the presentations and find out more about what happened here.

The Empire strikes back
On 16 June we held a seminar where Dr John Moore presented his paper ‘Is the Empire coming home? Liberalism, exclusion and the punitiveness of the British State’. He argued that present day penal policy doesn’t represent a ‘new punitiveness’ linked to the emergence of neo-liberalism. Rather, it is a continuation of strategies, imbued with racism, that were tested and developed during colonial times. 

Demolition job
After another grim inspection report into Pentonville prison, Richard Garside said we should demolish the facility and build affordable social housing in its place. 

Criminal Justice Matters hits a century!
Our magazine Criminal Justice Matters hit the big one-double-O this month as we published the 100th issue! We have contributions from Jamie Bennett, Joe Sim, Robert Reiner and Barry Loveday on a notable event or topic from the last 26 years. Building on our UK Justice Policy Review conference from March this year, we also have longer essays from David Ford MLA, Northern Ireland Justice Minister; Kenny MacAskill, MSP, the Scottish Justice Secretary between 2007 and 2014; and Rt Hon Elfyn Llwyd, a member of the House of Commons Justice Committee between 2010 and 2015. It's all free to view online so click here to take a look!

Challenging state and corporate impunity
On 19 June we held a conference in collaboration with the University of Liverpool to consider ways that researchers, activists and journalists can work together to hold state and corporate institutions to account for the harms they cause. It was a really exciting and productive day. Speakers included Tony Bunyan, Deborah Hargreaves, Ewa Jasiewicz, Sarah Lamble and Suresh Grover. Keep an eye out on our website for videos from the conference next month!

New addition
We are delighted to announce that Charlotte Weinberg, Executive Director of Safe Ground, has joined our board of trustees.


Together we can bring the walls down!
Following our Justice matters for Women: Time for Action! conference last month, Claire Cain of Women in Prison wrote an inspiring piece about building collective action so that ‘together we can bring the walls down!’. A group of Justice Matters activists then marched under an ‘Empower. Resist. Transform.’ banner at the anti-austerity demonstration in London on 20 June.

British Journal of Criminology
The July issue of the British Journal of Criminology (volume 55 issue 4) is now available to download (subscription only). 

Evasion and repression at the G4S AGM
On 4 June our friends over at the Reclaim Justice Network went to the G4S annual general meeting to question them about various concerns over prisons and detention centres run by the outsourcing firm in the UK. Read what happened here.

Difficult conversations
Mike Guilfyole has given us another moving story about his experiences working as a probation officer. Read it here.

Imagining accountability in police, business and politics
In the run-up to the accountability conference, David Whyte wrote us a blog about the social movement in Barcelona which aims to wipe out inequality and corruption in business, politics and the police. Take a look at what he said


Shock and law: debating the use of tasers
On Wednesday, 15 July we’re holding a workshop to debate the implications of the growing use of tasers in the UK, in the wake of a vote by the Police Federation in support of arming all frontline police officers with the weapons. 

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 David Nutt affair 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. 


What kind of society do we want?
Articles by Danny Dorling debunking myths about inequality, and Michael Marmot on tackling health inequalities caught our eye this month. Read more about them here.

Dying for Justice
In March the Institute for Race Relations published a report into the deaths of 509 people from BAME, refugee and migrant communities in which the police, prison authorities or immigration detention officers have been implicated. Read the full report here


Secure college plans 'under review'
Justice Secretary Michael Gove has been questioned in parliament about the government's plans for a new secure college. In what was described as an 'interesting and pithy' response, Gove said the plans are 'under review'.

Sharp rise in reported sexual offences against children  
The number of sexual offences against children recorded by the police has increased by more than third over the last year, reports The Guardian.

Prison overcrowding underestimated for years
Prisons minister Andrew Selous has admitted that statistics on prison overcrowding in England and Wales have been understated for six years because some prisons were counting doubled-up cells incorrectly, reports The Guardian.

Police too often playing mental health worker role
A review of mental health crisis care in England and Wales by the Care Quality Commission has found that the police are regularly the first point of contact for those in mental distress. 

Youth offending teams boycott G4S secure training centre
Youth offending teams are refusing to send young people to Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre following an Ofsted inspection report which revealed gross misconduct by staff at the facility, reports Children and Young People Now

Sharp rise in proportion of young black and minority ethnic prisoners
The proportion of black and ethnic minority children and young people held in the youth justice system has risen by half in a decade, according to an analysis by The Guardian.


£13.2 million - the amount G4S and Serco have received for supplying tagging equipment to the Ministry of Justice between March 2014 and February 2015, according to our analysis of government spending data


'Maybe we should not have any criminology. Maybe we should rather abolish institutes, not open them. Maybe the social consequences of criminology are more dubious than we like to think.'
Nils Christie (1977) Conflicts as property first published in the British Journal of Criminology. Following the sad death of Professor Christie last month, Oxford University Press has made the article available free to view as a mark of respect to his legacy.

'The state has armed itself with all its new powers of surveillance helped on by technology (a substitute for legislation) and the politics of fear. But the spaces are there for us to fight back in, and the time is here to be seized'. 
​A. Sivanandan in the short film 'The future: building on communities of dissent', based on his recorded post-script to the Institute of Race Relations conference 'Catching history on the wing'.

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This bulletin was compiled and edited by Matt Ford and Rebecca Roberts. We are always keen to hear from our readers. For comments and feedback email  

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