Tammy McGloughlin and Richard Garside introduce this issue of cjm
We have reached a milestone. This is the 100th issue of Criminal Justice Matters.
The magazine has changed against a generation of political and policy developments which we have tracked in a number of ways in the magazine, with contributors offering their own observations from both an academic and practitioner point of view. Since issue 71, in Spring 2008, the magazine has comprised of a themed section guest edited by various of our colleagues on the editorial board and others. We thank them all for their valuable support and the insights they have provided for our readers to ensure that cjm has always been a valued and widely read magazine.
This edition is slightly different. It is based around the conference we held in March 2015 - Criminal justice since 2010: What happened? What next? - and our recent review of criminal justice in the United Kingdom since 2010: The coalition years. We were extremely fortunate to have a number of key players in UK criminal justice policy speaking at the conference. They included David Ford MLA, the 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.
In the first section of this issue we publish the contributions to this conference by David Ford, Kenny MacAskill and Elfyn Llwyd. Each piece captures the diverse and distinctive approaches to criminal justice that have unfolded across the United Kingdom's three criminal justice jurisdictions - England and Wales; Scotland; Northern Ireland - in recent years. The section opens with an article by the Centre's director, Richard Garside, giving an overview of criminal justice developments, across the United Kingdom, since 2010.
At this point, it is an opportune moment to reflect and we have drawn up a timeline of events to remind us of what has taken place in the 26 years since the first issue of cjm.
The second section comprises of short articles in which the contributors have chosen a subject or event that they feel has had lasting impact. Jamie Bennett writes about the span of documentaries from Rex Bloomstein with his ongoing focus on penal institutions and those who have been sentenced, including two films, 20 years apart, looking at Strangeways Prison. The riot at Strangeways in 1990 is the subject that Joe Sim reflects on, arguing that without a fundamental shift in penal policy, prison's 'very legitimacy remains seriously contested'. Peter Squires considers the evolving narrative of gun crime in Britain and the two decades between the Dunblane shootings and the killing of Mark Duggan. Robert Reiner poses the question 'do the powerful still need the police?' and asks 'what has become of their cultural capital'. Assessing Labour's plans for the future of policing and criminal justice, and writing at the time before the May election, Barry Loveday argues that the party is committed to the historic police-dominated structures that 'failed us all in the past'.
Including past cjm covers in this section demonstrates the diversity of subjects that the magazine has focused on: with each issue offering articles for critical analysis and, we hope, to cultivate further debate.
To end this issue, Rebecca Roberts reviews Locked down, locked out: Why prison doesn't work and how we can do better by Maya Schenwar.
Leaving the coalition government behind, and with the voters bringing in a Conservative government, we will continue to track and scrutinise policy and parliamentary changes and developments over the next five years.
In England and Wales, the appointment of Michael Gove as Justice Secretary, in place of Chris Grayling, signals a change in style, if not substance. Much will depend on the Conservative Party manifesto commitments, including a new 'British Bill of Rights', further cuts to legal aid, and a replacement of older, smaller prisons with new, larger ones. The challenge of meeting tough austerity targets will continue to affect all policy-making in criminal justice.
The distinctive and divergent criminal justice policies in Scotland and Northern Ireland are likely to continue. The forthcoming elections in those jurisdictions, in May 2016, will be more significant to criminal justice policy developments in these jurisdictions than the UK General Election.
Tammy McGloughlin is Publications Manager and Richard Garside is Director, both at the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies