A tough job at Justice
from the article by Mark Easton on BBC News:
If the Conservative right see the appointment of Chris Grayling as a signal that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is going to re-adopt the slogan "prison works" then I think they may be disappointed.
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.
Breaking the Cycle: The Government's response published
On 21 June 2011 the Ministry of Justice published the Government’s response to the consultation responses received to the sentencing green paper Breaking the Cycle. Although some areas of proposed policy have changed – for example in relation to the additional discount for early guilty pleas – the message on restorative justice remains strong.
Response by Dr Martin Wright to European Commission consultation document: Taking action on rights, support and protection of victims of crime and violence
The key to this reply is in the last answer: that in principle restorative justice practices should be available to all victims, subject only to the safeguards mentioned in the reply to Question 17. Restorative processes are in the interests not only of victims, but also of offenders and the community.
Victim-offender dialogue is valuable as an end in itself as well as a means to an end. For many victims, action to make the offender less likely to re-offend is at least as high on their list of priorities as monetary compensation or reparation through work. When the victim and offender agree on one of these methods of reparation, it is incumbent on the community to provide the resources to enable offenders to carry them out.
A comment on Do Better Do Less: The report of the Commission on English Prisons Today
by Martin Wright
The Commission on English Prisons Today is an independent commission set up in 2007 by the Howard League for Penal Reform. Its 77-page report details the growth in prison population in the UK, accompanied by a rise in the reconviction rate, and aggravated by 49 ‘law-and-order’ laws between 1980 and 2009. By contrast England in 1908-39, and Finland in 1960-2000, have shown that imprisonment can be deliberately reduced with no effect on the crime rate. Scotland is planning to do likewise.