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Response to the Justice Select Committee’s inquiry on public opinion and understanding of sentencing

In this response to the Justice Select Committee’s inquiry on the public’s opinion and understanding of sentencing, the CJA worked with our members involved in this issue, as well as drawing on our 2021 report, Behind Closed Doors. That report outlines how the media can better report on criminal justice in a nuanced and constructive way, leading to a more informed public. We also drew on our learning from hosting our annual Media Awards and the research carried out by FrameWorks Institute in 2016 on effectively ‘framing’ messages to the public regarding criminal justice. We make a number of recommendations including that a criminal justice media advisory service is established to provide advice and guidance to journalists and reporters on portraying criminal justice issues accurately, including on sentencing. We also recommend that all sentencing remarks are made publicly available immediately after the hearing, without journalists having to submit a request which can delay access.

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