UK Justice Policy Review: Volume 1

Richard Garside and Helen Mills
Monday, 26 November 2012

The first in an annual series by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, supported by the Hadley Trust, tracking year-on-year developments in criminal justice and social welfare across the UK.

Combining analysis of the main developments with key data on issues such as spending, staffing and the numbers going through the criminal justice system, UK Justice Policy Review offers an accessible overview of UK-wide developments.

Among the notable findings in this issue is that more than half the spending on private contractors by the UK Border Agency and the National Offender Management Service during the first year of the coalition government went to just two companies. UK Justice Policy Review, shows that out of a total of £745 million spent between May 2010 and April 2011 one third went to G4S, who received £229 million. A further £154 million, one fifth of the total, went to Serco. The contracts covered a range of services including detention, surveillance, prisoner escort and deportation.

Alongside the report a website - - provides a repository of downloadable data and background materials along with updates from the project team.

The first edition of UK Justice Policy Review includes:

  • An overview of policing, courts and legal aid, prisons and probation, and welfare reform during the coalition's first year.
  • Data sections covering the spending cuts, criminal justice expenditure, criminal justice staffing, numbers processed by the criminal justice system, and trends in welfare.
  • A year in view timeline and a summary of the year in numbers.

Key facts and figures from the first edition include:

  • Over two million people in the UK were convicted of an offence by the courts or subject to an out-of-court disposal. Nearly 30% of criminal justice sanctions in the UK are now out of court disposals.
  • The numbers in prison in the UK are on course for reaching 100,000 by 2014, according to one scenario.
  • The coalition's spend on various contracted out services in criminal justice is revealed including:
  • £320 million on contracted out prison and detention centres.
  • £99 million on contracted out electronic monitoring.
  • £159 million on contracted out court and prison escorts.
  • £167 million on contracted out asylum detention and return services.

Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and co-author of the report said:

'UK Justice Policy Review is the antidote to the Westminster criminal justice policy bubble, with its relentless focus on England and, occasionally, Wales, to the exclusion of Scotland and Northern Ireland. It offers an accessible at a glance overview of criminal justice and social welfare developments across the United Kingdom. With the support of the Hadley Trust UK Justice Policy Review will provide a year on year guide to UK criminal justice and social welfare developments.'

Helen Mills, Research Associate at the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and co-author of the report said:

'This review is a unique opportunity to look at criminal justice across the UK. Gathering together government data about criminal justice from various sources and Freedom of Information requests has resulted in over 1,000 individual data entries about criminal justice in the UK, all of which are accessible from the project's website.'