Youth Justice Conferences versus Children’s Court: A comparison of cost-effectiveness
Aim: To compare the cost-effectiveness of Youth Justice Conferences (YJCs) to matters eligible for YJCs but dealt with in the Children’s Court.
Method: The costs for Police, Legal Aid, Children’s Court, Juvenile Justice YJC administration and Juvenile Justice administration of court orders were separately estimated using a combination of top-down and bottom-up costing methods.
These were combined with data from matched samples of young people who were to be dealt with by a YJC and young people who could have been dealt with by a YJC but instead were dealt with in the Children’s Court in 2007 in order to estimate average costs per person for each process.
Dalhousie offers restorative justice option for students
from the article on updatednews.ca:
Dalhousie University students who end up in trouble with the law now have a way to try to right the wrong without having to go to court.
The University, police and the province’s Justice Department have set up a restorative justice program just for students of the school. It’s the first program of its kind for university students in Canada.
Restorative justice "is a postcode lottery"
from the article on PublicService.co.uk:
....The report said that restorative justice does offer benefits to victims, offenders and communities and it is being used in all areas of the criminal justice system – but patchy take-up and inconsistent application mean that not all victims, offenders and communities are able to benefit.
Kidderminster magistrate concerned about cases dealt with outside court
In the area covered by West Merica Police - Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin - 3,594 community resolutions were handed out in 2010/11, compared to 2,167 in 2009/10.
Chairman of the bench at Kidderminster Magistrates Court, Jill Gramann, said magistrates thought the figure was too high.
Restorative Justice in the Greater Manchester Police
....The first of the five aims, to reduce crime, is an area where GMP has had significant success in recent years. A key part of the crime reduction strategy is to “make more use of Restorative Justice to give victims the opportunity to challenge offenders and make them understand the consequences of their behaviour”. In a criminal Justice context, victims are given the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers and to get an apology. This helps offenders understand the real impact of what they’ve done and holds them to account for it while also helping victims to get on with their lives.
To some extent, RJ runs counter to the culture that developed within police forces in response to central government targets because it can adversely affect the statistics traditionally used to assess police performance. Performance was measured against targets such as the numbers of sanctioned detections (where an offender is charged, cautioned, reported for summons, reprimanded, the offence is taken into consideration or where a fixed penalty notice is issued), the numbers of stop and search events and numbers of arrests. The last of these central government policing targets was removed in 2010.
Green Paper: Breaking the cycle - Effective punishment, rehabilitation and sentencing of offenders
from the UK Government's new Green Paper:
78. We are committed to increasing the range and availability of restorative justice approaches to support reparation. Restorative justice is the name given to processes which provide victims with the opportunity to play a personal role in determining how an offender makes amends. This can often include direct reparation. A substantial minority of victims would consider meeting their offender by way of a restorative justice process and those victims who do report high levels of satisfaction. The evidence suggests that the approach may also have a positive impact on the offender’s likelihood of reoffending in the future. Getting an offender to confront the consequences of their crimes directly is often an effective punishment for less serious offences.
Restorative justice vs perfomance targets....
My force are introducing restorative justice as an alternative to court, and this will primarily be aimed at young offenders. Restorative justice has received a mixed reception and was hoping forum members could share their thoughts and experiences from their own forces. I think its a good idea, and a move away from chasing performance targets has got to be a good think, or are performance targets still applied?? any thoughts gratefully received.
Economic analysis of interventions for young adult offenders
This report summarises an economic analysis of alternative interventions for young adult offenders. It concludes that, for all offenders aged 18-24 sentenced in a Magistrate’s court for a non-violent offence1 in a given year:
- Diversion from community orders to pre-court RJ conferencing schemes (following a police triage service in which police officers make an immediate assessment of the need and likely benefit from a community intervention) is likely to produce a lifetime cost saving to society of almost £275 million (£7,050 per offender). The costs of RJ conferencing are likely to be paid back within the first year of implementation. During the course of two parliaments (10 years), implementation of such a scheme would be likely to lead to a total net benefit to society during this period of over £1 billion.
- Diversion from custody to community orders via changes in sentencing guidelines is likely to produce a lifetime cost saving to society of more than £12 million (£1,032 per offender). The costs of changing sentencing guidelines are likely to be paid back within three years of implementation. During the course of two parliaments (10 years), implementation of such a scheme would be likely to lead to a total net benefit to society during this period of almost £33 million.
- Diversion from trial under adult law to trial under juvenile law following maturity assessment is likely to produce a lifetime cost saving to society of almost £5 million (£420 per offender). The costs of maturity assessments are likely to be paid back within five years of implementation. During the course of two parliaments (10 years), implementation of such a scheme would be likely to lead to a total net benefit to society during this period of almost £473,000.
ZAMBIA: Justice delayed becoming justice denied
Harry Mubita was tired of his wretched condition in prison. He had been in Lusaka Central Prison for more than a year, and still there was no sign that his theft case would be heard.
Mubita, a tailor, accepted money from a woman who wanted him to make her a traditional dress known as the Chitenge Outfit – a long skirt and an intricately cut and sewn top, with a matching wrap-around and head-scarf. All made from a single length of material.
But he failed to deliver.
Mubita also did not refund the ZMK70,000 (about 14.40 dollars) payment, or return the six metres of cotton print. The aggrieved woman told the police, and two constables armed with AK-47 rifles arrested Mubita at his Kaunda Square Market shop. Mubita's case is not unusual.
More cautionary news from the US
By Dan Van Ness
United States public officials are reconsidering sentencing policies, driven by the increasingly high cost implications of current laws and practices. Mandatory sentencing laws, including Three Strikes legislation adopted in a number of states, take discretion away from judges and require prison sentences (often quite lengthy) be served.
Do Better Do Less: The report of the Commission on English Prisons Today
From the Executive Summary: England and Wales has become a jurisdiction which punishes excessively, harshly and with little attention paid to the relationship between legislation and impact on prison numbers. Prison has become the defining tool of the punishment process and we now imprison more of our population than almost any other country in western Europe.