This is restorative justice. And it works.
Jan 16, 2012
Strathclyde police deserve heavy praise. Not only have they curbed gang violence (see this Guardian piece from yesterday) they have persuaded a Tory (led) government of the merits of restorative justice.
In the wake of the summer riots Cameron pointed to the success of Strathclyde police in dealing with gang violence: “I want us to use the record of success against gangs some cities like Boston in the USA and indeed the Strathclyde police in Scotland – who have done this by engaging the Police, the voluntary sector and local government. I want this to be a national priority”(full text here)
And he’s right to highlight Strathclyde. By attacking the structures that encourage, abett and necessitate gang membership the context a gang member lives in is hopefully changing.
Hauling up to 60 known gang members before a ‘call in’ held in the courts showing firstly that they’re being watched, and secondly the brutal consequence of casual violence the results are clear:
“Among the nearly 500 gang members from eastern Glasgow who have engaged with the CIRV since late 2008, violent offending has fallen by 46%, all other types of offending by 34%, weapon possession by 85% and involvement in gang fighting by 73%. Equally impressively, there seems to have been something of a ripple effect: even among gang members who haven’t been called in, violence is down 24%.” (Guardian)
So, community action instead of short term mandatory sentencing. Seeking to undo the environmental context of violence instead of the usual blithe ‘poverty does not justify it’ rightist response. Cameron, you bloody hippy, how did you get that past your backbenchers?