In this response to the Justice Select Committee’s inquiry into the role of adult custodial remand, we urge the government to reduce the rising level of remand through the urgent scaling-up of Bail Information Services in courts and prisons. We also recommend the government end the disproportionate use of remand for Black, Asian and minority ethnic women and divert resources set aside for prison expansion to community-based support services, such as Women’s Centres.
This joint briefing from a coalition of criminal justice organisations outlines how 10 clauses in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will deepen racial inequality in the criminal justice system, and without evidence that they will reduce crime or improve public safety. We draw on the government’s own equality assessments, which acknowledge that most of the provisions reviewed in this briefing are indirectly discriminatory. We also highlight the government’s lack of evidence that they are a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’ and the lack of sufficient mitigation of their impact on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
In March, the CJA and a coalition of organisations wrote to the Prime Minister, warning that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will deepen existing racial inequality in the criminal justice system, leading to more Black, Asian and minority ethnic people being swept into the criminal justice system for ever increasing periods of their lives. We have now received a response from the government.
The CJA has been in communication with the justice secretary in recent months, raising our concerns about the decision to extend the amount of time someone can be kept in prison while awaiting trial. We have also been pushing for the greater use of Bail Information Services in courts and prisons, which can help people satisfy requirements for bail, preventing them from being remanded in prison. We have now received a further response from the justice secretary.
This briefing from a coalition of criminal justice and race equality organisations explores how the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill could deepen racial inequality in the criminal justice system. It analyses the equality impact assessments behind the Bill, and calls for the government to withdraw the discriminatory measures and launch a proper public consultation.
We recently wrote to the Ministry of Justice, calling for the government to reverse its decision to extend the amount of time someone can be kept in prison awaiting trial before their case must be reviewed by a judge. We also called for the reintroduction of Bail Information Services, which can help defendants secure bail rather than be kept in prison awaiting trial. The justice secretary Robert Buckland has responded in this letter.
We recently worked with members to respond to the government’s sentencing White Paper, identifying positive elements of the proposals, highlighting our concerns, and making recommendations for fair and effective sentencing. In this letter with an accompanying annex, the government responds to our briefing, discussing areas such as community sentences, problem-solving courts, probation, youth justice and more.
In this response to the government’s White Paper on sentencing, the CJA and members highlight the positive elements of the government’s sentencing plans, as well as identifying areas of concern. The response also makes wide-ranging recommendations for government to create a criminal justice system which diverts people away from the dead end of prison and gives individuals the best chance at a life away from life
In this letter, Alex Chalk MP responds to key recommendations from our Routes to Recovery report on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. He discusses the discharge grant, remote hearings, funding for Black and minority ethnic-led organisations, supporting victims through the pandemic and more.
In this response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on Strengthening the Independent Scrutiny Bodies through Legislation, the CJA discusses how scrutiny bodies such as the Prison and Probation Ombudsman, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons and Independent Monitoring Boards could be strengthened. The CJA also considers the advantages and disadvantages of England and Wales adopting the ‘Scottish Model’, where scrutiny is merged under one body.
Routes to Recovery draws on discussions with CJA members in virtual meetings in June and July. The report highlights challenges and good practice during COVID-19 across policing, courts, prisons, probation and resettlement, victims’ services, mental health and drug and alcohol services. The report also provides recommendations for policy makers, highlighting how they can build a better criminal justice system following the pandemic.
Robert Buckland, Secretary of State for Justice, has responded to the Criminal Justice Alliance’s letter which provided COVID-19 recommendations on protecting lives in the criminal justice system.
The CJA’s response to the Justice Select Committee’s inquiry on the ageing prison population.
This response highlights the CJA’s concern that that the current balance of focus is still tipped towards the reactionary identification and targeting of specific ‘high risk individuals’ rather than implementing clear long-term prevention strategies to address the root causes of serious violence.
Our response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on probation highlights the need to build of positive and meaningful relationships between probation officers and the people they work with and increase confidence in community sentences.
Parliamentary briefing for peers ahead of the Second Reading of Lord Dholakia’s Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill, which proposes to raise it from ten to 12.
The CJA response to the Sentencing Council’s bladed articles and offensive weapons guidelines consultation
Our response welcomes the broadening of factors that should be taken into account when considering the welfare of a young person but emphasises that sentencers should also consider the fact that many young people are also themselves victims of crimes.
Our consultation response to the Sentencing Council’s draft guidelines on early guilty pleas highlights our concerns that the proposed changes will not benefit enough victims and witnesses and it could unnecessarily increase the prison population.
This response highlights the CJA’s views on the role the magistrates have to play in a fair and effective criminal justice system.