We've had a busy few weeks in the media, making interventions on a range of matters, from youth prisons to criminal records, knife violence, to the state of the probation service.
Last week, Richard, our Director, told The Times newspaper (£) that the government should end the 'failed' secure training centres experiment and close all three of them. His comments came in response to a damning Ofsted report on Oakhill secure training centre, run by the controversial security company, G4S. 'Secure training centres are neither secure for the children imprisoned, nor do they prepare children for adult life', Richard said.
Later in the week, Richard contributed to an investigation by The Economist into the flawed probation privatisation in England and Wales. Probation services, he told the magazine, delivered 'complex services to people with complex problems'; something the private companies have found difficult to adapt to.
Earlier in the month, the Islington Gazette covered news that the London Mayor was intervening in the sale of the former Holloway prison site. This follows pressure from our partners and us, calling on Mr Khan to consider bidding for the site. Welcoming the Mayor's intervention, our Senior Associate, Rebecca Roberts, told the paper that 'The Ministry of Justice have been clear that their main concern is profit, rather than considering the needs and views of the local community'.
Last Sunday, The Observer newspaper previewed our forthcoming report on the problematic criminal records checks regime. The report, due out next month, found that nearly three quarters of the million or so convictions revealed to employers each year in criminal records checks were more than a decade old. 'We were really struck that hundreds of thousands of disclosures related to historic offences,' our Research Director Roger Grimshaw told the paper. 'A lot can change in a decade or more. It’s important that mistakes of the distant past do not prejudice people’s chances of employment and rehabilitation.'
We recently collaborated with The Guardian newspaper on an investigation into stab wound deaths of young people in England and Wales. The rate of deaths, Richard told the paper, had 'been pretty consistent over time, regardless of policing tactics or the toughening up of sentencing policy. Indeed, the numbers of young people dying from stab wounds have risen as sentencing policy has toughened over recent years'. Reducing violent deaths, he said, 'requires social policies that tackle the root causes, not criminal justice policies that, at best, can only keep a lid on the problem'.
The Guardian piece was also picked up this morning by The Times (£).