Monthly News Bulletin
Email Bulletin May 2012
WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?
Social justice instead of criminal justice?
This CCJS event looked at the question of `how can we cut the prison population by half in a socially just manner?'. We talked about socio-economic arguments that undermine penal excess and how build a network of interested individuals and organisations who will work with us to promote this. We tweeted throughout and Richard Garside put forward a five point plan of how to go about downsizing prison from a social justice perspective......A follow up event will take place on 13 September, 1.30-5pm - more info on how to register in next month's bulletin.
Be bold. Be ambitious. Demand abolition for women in prison....
That was the call from Deborah Coles, one of the speakers at a recent Women in Prison conference attended by CCJS' Helen Mills and Rebecca Roberts. Five years on from the Corston report - which demanded a radical reduction of the women's prison population and the introduction of small custodial units for the remaining population - the event discussed how such units might be formed, structured and located. Helen and Rebecca are in discussions with Women in Prison about potential follow up work.
Community sentences: `lacking in honest political brokerage'
Helen Mills says that the lack of honest political brokerage regarding community sentences ... `keeps us further away from an informed public debate about what any sentencing disposal is able to achieve'. Read her comments on the government's recent consultation here.
Another day, another blog.... and 9 more people in prison
Richard calculates that in 2012 the prison population has increased by 9 prisoners a day. He blogged it here. And if you want to find out why `evidence based policy making... is as far away as ever', then read this blog on crime and policing trends.
The trouble with troubled families
We are feeling a little troubled by the government's `troubled families' agenda. To give you a flavour of our thinking, read this blog. Radio 4's `More or Less' programme also covered this topic and you can listen to it here.
Will the celebrating ever end?
Olympics, jubilee... just when we were thinking there was nothing left to celebrate, Roger Grimshaw, Research Director and Rebecca Roberts from the Centre went to the Royal Statistical Society to hear about a reported drop in international crime rates. Drops in volume crimes (eg theft and vehicle offences) have occurred across countries and were largely attributed to improvements in security devices. Whether this is cause for celebration amidst some rises in violent offences and social distress borne from economic troubles, is another matter.... Anyway, back to lighter matters... Richard went to NAPO's hundredth birthday celebrations at the Houses of Parliament and was very pleased with the complementary beer mat in his party bag.
Bring out the punting
We commented on youth justice statistics, accusing the Home Office of making a `finger in the air punt' that will `nourish prejudices about young people and crime'.
While we are all limbering up for the Olympic Games and Euro 2012, next month's issue of our magazine, Criminal Justice Matters will consider sport and harm. Guest edited by Peter Francis contributors are considering areas such as security, racism and corruption in sport. Topical articles include homophobic bullying in schools and in our debating section we look at the reprieve of the Youth Justice Board.
Pat Carlen: `Against rehabilitation. For reparative justice'
This year's Eve Saville lecture will be given by Professor Pat Carlen, editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Criminology. Pat's working title is `Against Rehabilitation. For Reparative Justice'. The date for your diary is 6 November 2012, early evening in central London. We'll keep you posted in future bulletins on how to register.
TAKE A LOOK AT THIS...
Tackling violence early
The TUC Women's Conference hosted a panel of speakers discussing the action needed to prevent violence before it begins, including work in schools, public campaigns, action to tackle sexualisation and objectification in the media. You can watch the webcast here.
Liverpool's `unofficial punishment wing'
A recent report from the Chief Inspector of Prisons revealed an `unofficial' punishment wing at Liverpool Prison. It was reported in The Guardian, and the full report is here.
Children held in degrading conditions at Heathrow
An official watchdog has reported that the UK Border Agency is responsible for detaining children in `degrading' and `disgraceful' conditions at Heathrow, The Guardian, (14/05/12). Also see `Children entering detention held solely under Immigration Act powers March 2012' from the Home Office.
IN THE NEWS...
Bobby on a private jobby?
`Guantanamo contractor makes it onto shortlist to run UK police forces', reports the Daily Telegraph (03/05/12). Key policing services in the West Midlands and Surrey could be run by a US Pentagon contractor previously involved in building Guantanamo Bay. In other news, the UK head of KBR, a US company attempting to win a new policing contract, says he has `no interest' in privatising the roles of front line police officers. The Financial Times, (04/05/12)
Turn on, tune in, drop out?
The Mail (22/05/12) reported that young people who listen to loud music are at `risk' of drug abuse, alcohol use and risky sex. To find out if it it's worth turning up YOUR MP3 player, click here.
Met faces legal challenge over pre-emptive arrest tactic
Activists who were rounded up before last year's royal wedding are challenging the Met police in the high court claiming that the police has unlawfully criminalised legitimate protests before they had began. The outcome could have implications for the diamond Jubilee and Olympics, reports The Guardian, (28/05/12)
At the sharp end of the cuts
The Independent (21/05/12) reports that high unemployment rates and rising living costs have lead to a surge in calls to mental health charity Mind (21/05/12). The Daily Mail reports (28/05/12) on figures revealing that the number of people hospitalised because they are malnourished has increased by 50 per cent in the past five years amid cuts to care. In other news (Financial Times, 22/05/12) Nick Clegg `will publish data detailing the coalition's progress in improving life chances for disadvantaged people'.
`Real early intervention calls for a raid on inequality'
Anna Minton comments in The Guardian, (08/05/12)
HMRC job cuts cost £1bn in uncollected taxes
Job cuts at Revenue and Customs led to more than £1bn of tax not being collected, the Public Accounts Committee revealed today. Public Finance, (24/05/12)
Queen's Speech 2012
For summary and commentary of the government's legislative plans for the coming year see The Guardian.
QUOTE(S) OF THE MONTH
"The people you meet inside are generally nicer than on the outside. There's a lot of respect for age in prison."
Lord Hanningfield, talks about how he'd like to become a prisons campaigner
8 out of 10 Cats on Channel 4 discuss prisoner voting...
"Of course they should be able to vote, it's a nonsense, every statistic shows these people shouldn't be ostracised from society, They're going to come back out. They should be allowed to be involved"
"I'd rather prisoners voted then everyone else didn't. Turnout at our last local election was 30%. Someone's got to vote. If prisoners are the only ones who give a shit, let them vote"
VENUE OF THE MONTH?The meeting space at our Vauxhall offices are available to hire at very reasonable rates. For more see
INTERNS OF THE YEARA BIG thank you to our three interns, Natalie Mazin, Rory Corbett and Afua Agyeman for their hard work this year. They have been with us since September we wish them luck in their future studies.
TWEETS OF INTEREST
@buzzflash: Isn't It Criminal to Put People in Prison so Corporations and Individuals Can Make a Profit? @drugpolicyreform
@johannhari101: This is interesting - US professor explains why suicide rates go up under right-wing governments. Audio clip here