The Criminal Justice Alliance is a coalition of 70 organisations committed
to improving the criminal justice system. Find out more about us here.
Why is Crime Falling Event?
The Criminal Justice Alliance held an event to discuss the possible explanations for continuing falling crime levels. The panel was chaired by Mark Easton, the BBC’s Home Editor and included:- Professor Mike Hough, Director of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (who helped launch the Crime Survey of England & Wales); Dr. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, University of Birmingham Economics Department (and author of a recent Civitas report that examined how longer sentences can lower crime); Sara Thornton, Chief Constable Thames Valley Police; Richard Garside, Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.
Voters Reject Building New Prisons to Lower Crime
New poll shows voters favour investment in jobs and the economy, drug addiction programmes and more police to bring crime down rather than new prisons.
A poll conducted by ICM on behalf of the Criminal Justice Alliance shows that voters are not confident that putting ever greater numbers of people in prison is effective at tackling crime and favour investment in other methods.
The ICM poll asked which three areas the Government should invest in to lower crime, the majority of respondents chose jobs and the economy (64%), followed by drug addiction programmes (51%), more police (47%), parenting programmes (41%), mental health care (26%) and building prisons finishing last (15%).
Poll results show:
Proposals to build a new ‘super prison’ should be abandoned as they do not command public support. Prison building was the least popular place to direct resources amongst all social groups and amongst all age groups, showing a consensus among voters that this is a waste of public money if the aim is to prevent crime.
Voters see crime prevention as the responsibility of a wide range of government departments and social institutions, not just police and prisons. The fact that the top two investment recommendations for reducing crime fall under the remit of the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Health highlight the powerlessness of the Ministry of Justice and Home Office in crucial areas.
Jobs and the economy were cited as the top priority for investment to prevent crime with relatively little difference between full-time workers (65%), part-time workers (66%) and non-workers (61%). It was also the top choice for all social groups, showing a consensus of opinion across voters.
Furthermore, the CJA has today published a paper entitled ‘The Top 10 Criminal Justice Myths’ which highlights the growing evidence that prison populations can be cut at the same time as crime.