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Across the CJS

Prevention & Diversion

Why do we need prevention and diversion?

Crime has many complex underlying causes such as poverty, homelessness and addiction, and research has shown that individuals in the criminal justice system are more likely to have suffered Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as abuse or neglect. By preventing these issues or addressing them at an earlier stage, we can reduce crime in society. Yet too often, individuals only have access to services once they enter the criminal justice system.

If an individual has committed a crime, processing them through the courts can do more harm than good, leaving them with a criminal record and increasing their rate of reoffending. We can make our communities safer by resolving crimes without going to court and helping individuals address their underlying needs in the community, where possible.

We advocate for greater use of early intervention, prevention and diversion to help people lead crime-free lives, and work to ensure that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people have access to diversionary schemes.

Our recent work:

Public Safety, Public Trust

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) can play a crucial role in tackling crime and addressing the needs of their communities. In this briefing, we call for PCCs to invest in diversionary schemes which best address the underlying causes of crime, highlighting successful initiatives from across England and Wales. 

Read the briefing

A smarter approach to sentencing?

In this briefing, the CJA and several members respond to the government’s plans for sentencing. We welcome some positive plans to increase the use of diversion, but call for the government to go further and introduce legislation to prevent the use of short custodial sentences. We also raise concerns that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people will miss out on diversionary schemes. 

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The government’s response to violence

In this consultation response, we warn that the government’s approach to violence is still too focused on reacting to crime, rather than on early prevention. We call for the government to implement clear long-term prevention strategies to address the root causes of serious violence, such as poverty, unemployment, economic inequality, abuse, poor mental wellbeing and alcohol and drug addiction. 

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