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Where next for criminal justice?

Where next for criminal justice?

David Faulkner
Ros Burnett
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  • Book Info
    Where next for criminal justice?
    Book Description:

    Successive governments have promised to reform criminal justice in England and Wales and to make it more efficient and more effective in preventing and reducing crime. And yet there is still a feeling that not enough has been achieved and more has to be done - a feeling that the English riots in August 2011 painfully revived. Where Next for Criminal Justice? offers a principled framework for the development of policy, legislation and practice, and argues with examples for an approach to criminal justice which acknowledges the limitations on what governments and reforms of criminal justice can achieve on their own, and where the focus is on promoting procedural justice and legitimacy; fostering human decency and civility; and enabling prevention, restoration and desistance from crime.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-893-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    Criminal justice has become one of those highly politicised issues that arouse strong views and emotions and divide people to the extent that those who disagree seem to be on entirely different wavelengths. They either stop communicating or argue with mutual derision. There seem to be deep divisions about the way in which a modern democratic society should try to prevent crime, deal with it when it occurs, help its victims and respond to those who commit it. Opinion is polarised between those who focus on the direct consequences of crime, for the victim or for society, and argue for...

  2. ONE Social justice, legitimacy and criminal justice
    (pp. 15-36)

    When people call out for justice to be done in response to an horrific crime, or when they lament the absence of justice for those who are impoverished in a wealthy world, or when there are outcries against the unjust treatment of one category of people compared with another, each is referring to different ideas of justice. The meaning of ‘justice’ has been the subject of philosophical debate for millennia and, within such analyses, ‘criminal justice’ is sometimes scarcely mentioned while for others it is deeply entwined. With its connection to ideas of virtue and moral ethics, there is a...

  3. TWO What happened in criminal justice: the 1980s
    (pp. 37-52)

    The past 30 years have been a period of renegotiation, adjustment and repositioning in the power structure of Great Britain, in criminal justice and more generally.¹ The social and professional elites that formed the ‘establishment’ lost their influence during the 1980s and gave way to a different elite with different social values and a stronger orientation towards business methods and individual achievement (Oborne, 2007). At first subtle and later more pronounced changes took place in relationships between government and the judiciary as courts’ judgments came to have more political significance, especially as a consequence of the 1998 Human Rights Act...

  4. THREE A change of direction: the 1990s
    (pp. 53-68)

    During 1992-93, the public and political mood changed dramatically. Criminal justice has always, and rightly, been political, but political parties did not make it part of their appeal to the electorate until 1979 (Downes and Morgan, 2007), and political parties did not seriously contend with one another over criminal justice issues until 1992/93 (Loader and Sparks, 2010). Even then, the difference between the parties was more about the scale on which they could promise more prison places, more police officers and more punitive legislation than about differences of approach. Arguments were driven more by considerations of political advantage than by...

  5. FOUR Crime prevention, civil society and communities
    (pp. 69-86)

    One of the themes to emerge from the previous chapters is the weakness of relying too exclusively on criminal justice as the country’s main instrument for preventing and reducing crime or for maintaining public confidence, and conversely the importance of social responsibility, the support of communities to which people belong and the informal influences of family and other attachments. A successful approach to preventing crime and reducing reoffending and to providing support for victims depends not only on the work of the courts and statutory services, but also on the goodwill and effectiveness of civil society. All sections of society...

  6. FIVE Courts, punishment and sentencing
    (pp. 87-104)

    The criminal court, symbolised by the blindfolded figure holding the sword and scales, was once seen as the embodiment of all that was best in British justice. By the 1990s, it was coming under criticism as being too expensive, slow, unfairly weighted in favour of the defendant, insensitive to the needs of victims and witnesses, ineffective in finding the truth and punishing those who are guilty, too narrowly focused on the offence rather than the offender, and incomprehensible to many of those who take part and to the public. This chapter considers a set of connected questions relating to the...

  7. SIX Police, policing and communities
    (pp. 105-122)

    The story of British policing over the past 30 years has been one of constant reform and of repeated demands that more change is needed. Governments have sought to make the police more effective in dealing with crime and at the same time to increase efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and cut costs. The public have similarly wanted the police to be more effective in fighting crime, which they have often equated with having a more visible police presence on the streets. Concerns of a different kind have related to police methods in dealing with demonstrations or incidents of public disorder, the...

  8. SEVEN Community sentences and desistance from crime
    (pp. 123-144)

    Community-based interventions and sentences provide opportunities for applying the constructive, encouraging and enabling principles advocated in this book. Supervision of offenders in the community has traditionally fallen to probation services and the youth offending services of local authorities. This chapter therefore looks at shared aspects of these two public sector services. Although probation and youth justice have separate histories, infrastructures and bodies of professional and academic expertise, they both have their roots in social work and what has been called ‘penal welfarism’ (Garland, 2001), and they have each relied on a similar practice model for working with those under their...

  9. EIGHT Prisons: security, rehabilitation and humanity
    (pp. 145-164)

    Discussion about prisons sometimes reveals, but often conceals, a deep-seated difference in attitude towards people who break the law and receive sentences of imprisonment. The difference is between those who are sympathetic to their plight and those who are not; that is, between those who see prisoners as fellow citizens who have erred but are capable of change and who are still entitled to decent, humane treatment and help when they need it,¹ and those who see them as a distinct class of people – ‘criminals’ – who have forfeited all such claims and have no place in ‘our’ society.²...

  10. NINE The role of government in criminal justice
    (pp. 165-186)

    The situation in criminal justice is part of a wider context of reforms of the way in which public services and government operate, in Great Britain as a whole but particularly in England. Especially in criminal justice, but also across the whole range of government activity, ministers have for the past 30 years been more active than at any time since the post-war Labour government, both in promoting new policies and legislation and in the day-to-day running of their departments. They have also become more ambitious in what they try to achieve. Chapters two and three described the weight and...

  11. TEN Policy, politics and the way forward
    (pp. 187-200)

    The title of a recent book –The Eternal Recurrence of Crime and Control¹ – has strong resonance for us. Every new government, and every new Home Secretary or Justice Secretary, promises new initiatives to deal with crime, and sometimes a new appointment or a new report brings the promise of a different emphasis and a new approach. All too often, what emerges proves to be more of the same – more legislation, more reorganisation, more punishment. The recurring problem is the assumption that reducing everyday crime and the harm it causes is a matter for more intensive governance or...