Our October 2015 ebulletin is out now!

Friday, 30 October 2015


On a mission from God?
The Centre's director, Richard Garside, tracks the progress of Justice Secretary, Michael Gove. Comparing him to his predecessor, Chris 'the barbarian' Grayling. 

What big teeth you have
Our Senior Research Associate Rebecca Roberts offers a word of caution on recent Conservative plans for a prison building programme and expansion of electronic monitoring. Describing the proposals as a 'wolf in sheep's clothing' she says they are likely to lead to an expansion of punishment, driven in partnership with the private sector. This was followed by a letter published in The Independent, in which Rebecca called for a 'whole-society' approach to preventing and tackling harm in society.

Are community sentences the answer to all our problems? 
Research and Policy Associate, Catherine Heard, has written a guest blog for CLINKS about our report, Community sentences since 2000: How they work and why they haven't cut prisoner numbers. You can also watch clips from the second national workshop on alternatives to custody that we held in September. There are talks on the risks and challenges of mainstreaming restorative justice, taking account of learning or communication difficulty, and the voluntary sector's role in Transforming Rehabilitation. 

Building social justice solutions
This month we published Discussing alternatives to criminal justiceThis document brings together a collection of comment articles from a range of authors on their ideas for building alternative policy and practice solutions to social problems. We want to continue the discussion and encourage readers to think about what they would build to replace the criminal justice reflex to social harm, so please get in touch with your suggestions. On 19 January 2016, we'll be holding a workshop to test out a toolkit we are developing to facilitate discussion about short and long term solutions to a range of social problems. Participants will be invited to test out the toolkit and offer feedback. Register here.

Think today's young people have got it all?
Read this post by our Research Director Roger Grimshaw about the high expectations but grim prospects for today's young people.

New big data project
We've started working with the University of Salford on an exciting new big data project. The Justice Matrix aims to create a virtual world by combining criminal justice and social datasets to simulate the criminalisation process. 

In case you missed it, last month we published a racism themed issue of our magazine, Criminal Justice Matters. All the articles are free to download so why not take a look now!

The state and corporations: Is accountability possible?
In June, we held a conference that brought together activists and researchers to discuss how we could work better together to hold state and corporate institutions accountable for the harms they cause. Check out all the footage here!


Electronic monitoring: a flawed alternative
report published by the US-based Centre for Media Justice has highlighted concerns about the rush to deploy electronic monitoring (EM) equipment as an alternative to imprisonment. The report's author, James Kilgore, offers critical reflections on the use of EM in the criminal justice system and a series of guiding principles to manage their use.

Volkswagen: a routine case of state-corporate harm production
The Volkswagen emissions-testing scandal has been pretty big news, but according to Steve Tombs, it's a routine case of state-corporate harm production

Family matters
Read Mike Guilfoyle's latest reflection on his time as a probation officer, where he talks about supervising 'Mark'.

Prison Service Journal
The latest edition of the Prison Service Journal focuses on reducing prison violence.

Policing the crisis
We are pleased to be taking part in Defend the Right to Protest's forthcoming Policing the Crisis conference on Sunday 15 November. Check out the full list of speakers and the timetable here.


Criminal justice and young people with clinical disorders
A disproportionate number of young people with neurodevelopmental impairments and clinical disorders are criminalised. Why is this and what can we do about it? This event on Friday, 13 November will consider how systems and services can better identify and respond to signs and symptoms of neurodevelopmental impairment to reduce criminal justice intervention.

Is criminal justice reform obsolete? Academic roundtable
On Thursday 19 November we are co-hosting an academic roundtable with the Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC) at The Open University. Dr Bree Carlton (Monash University, Australia) and Dr Erica Meiners (Northeastern Illinois University, USA) will speak about local abolitionist struggles in Australia and the USA. They will discuss the relationship between incremental reform and the longer-term agenda to end the resort to imprisonment. Respondents will include Dr Deborah Drake (The Open University), Dr Sarah Lamble (Birkbeck University), Andrew Neilson (The Howard League) and Professor Joe Sim (Liverpool John Moore's University). Places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.

Later that day Bree and Erica will be speaking at a larger public meeting, 'Abolition or reform?', organised by the Reclaim Justice Network and HERC. Joining them on the panel will be Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski (Ph.D. student, The Open University), Deb Coles (Inquest), Neena Samota (StopWatch) and a speaker from The Empty Cages Collective and London Campaign Against Police and State Violence.    

Alternatives to criminal justice: building social justice solutions
As mentioned above, we're holding a participatory workshop on Tuesday 19 January 2016 to discuss and test out ideas for a new toolkit.


Stop and search: the police must not revive this discredited tactic
Mike Shiner, writing in The Guardian, warns of the dangers of recent calls by the police to increase stop and search in response to an 'illusory' rise in knife crime.

Private prisons just bit players in mass incarceration
Read this article by James Kilgore in Truthout about how a narrow focus on private prison operators in the penal industrial complex lets a lot of other more powerful forces off the hook.

The Jamaican prison: A show of ignorance, cruelty and historical amnesia
Luke de Noronha, writing in Ceasefire magazine, examines the wider context to the planned Jamaican prison where Jamaican nationals convicted of breaking the law in the UK will be sent to serve their sentences.

Is Britain racist?
Watch this documentary on BBC iPlayer, which investigates racism in Britain. In it, data journalist Mona Chalabi aims to go beyond the statistics on explicit racist attitudes to explore a more complex picture of racism, and also uncovers uncomfortable truths about implicit racial bias. For more information on implicit racial bias read Jules Holroyd's article in the #Black Lives Matter edition of our magazine, Criminal Justice Matters


Serco paid £1.1 million for running empty children's prison
Serco continued to receive payments for running Hassockfield secure children's centre for seven weeks after it was closed on 20 November 2014, according to The Guardian.

Police officers could become less visible on the street
Police officers could become less visible on the streets because police forces aren't managing their budgets properly, warns a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary reported in The Telegraph.


£1.1 million - the amount paid to Serco for running an empty children's prison for seven weeks, according to The Guardian.


'The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need of the population served... The force that creates and maintains the inverse care law is the operation of the market and its cultural and ideological superstructure... The more health services are removed from the force of the market, the more successful we can be in redistributing care away from its ''natural'' distribution in a market economy; but this will be a redistribution, an intervention to correct a fault natural to our form of society, and therefore incompletely successful and politically unstable, in the absence of more fundamental social change'. Julian Tudor Hart from 1971, writing in The Lancet on what he called the 'inverse care law'.

If you have been forwarded a copy of this e-bulletin and would like to subscribe directly, register your detailsThis 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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