Keep up-to-date with drugs and crime

The latest research, policy, practice and opinion on our criminal justice and drug & alcohol treatment systems
If NoOffence! were Justice Secretary
The design of the CJS is not evidence-led, despite some attempts to reference evidence when it fits the prevailing ‘politics’. The prevailing ‘politics’ and public attitude is one of punishment first and foremost . Any discussion is predominantly an emotional response to the harm done by those who commit crimes, bounded by vested interests and political dogma.

Share This Post

The latest contribution to the current blog series setting out the top three priorities for the new Justice Secretary comes from NoOffence, the UK’s leading criminal justice network. It is jointly written by Sue Clifford (@NoOffenceCIC), Chief Executive and Joe Kuipers (@joekuipers), the Chair with input from other board members.

Four fundamental questions and answers that will guide me

  1.  Do we have a Criminal Justice System (CJS), or a collection of poorly integrated, disconnected and fragmented services overseen by several Departments of State?
  2.  Is the design of our ‘CJS’ evidence-led?
  3.  How much money should we spend on reducing crime and reoffending?
  4.  Is the issue of crime one that concerns the voting public (unless they are victims) or an issue that generates intelligent public debate?


 Some answers

  1. No – the CJS is not really a ‘system’ and, with an expanding provider base, more fragmentation looks likely.
  2.  No – the design of the CJS is not evidence-led, despite some attempts to reference evidence when it fits the prevailing ‘politics’. The prevailing ‘politics’ and public attitude is one of punishment first and foremost . Any discussion is predominantly an emotional response to the harm done by those who commit crimes, bounded by vested interests and political dogma.
  3.  Generally people do not to want to pay for services that they do not personally need. Government will focus on cost reductions for the foreseeable future, coupled with increased outsourcing in the belief that this will give better value to the taxpayer. This also devolves risk to providers and reduces the ‘control’ government has over services.
  4. Generally no. The public appears variably interested in crime and justice; more so when personally involved, or in a number of cases when responding to unbalanced reporting. Crime and justice do not feature significantly in the forthcoming general election.



These four answers form the basis of my priorities. NoOffence!CIC is well placed to help me to achieve these priorities working alongside CJS partners. Now for some detail.

  1. I will work constructively with the Home Secretary and other key ministers to drive forward changes that improve the system and make the whole greater than the sum of its parts, which currently it is not.  I will be introducing a range of initiatives to tackle system weaknesses.
  2.  I will seek to achieve a coalescence of political opinion to enable a more evidence-led approach. Justice has become increasingly politicised to the detriment of victims and the taxpayer.
  3.  I will seek to obtain the same funding protection afforded to health and education and review outsourced services if they do not improve rehabilitation results and secure cost reductions. I will introduce stringent accountability systems to monitor the finances and performance of CJS players to ensure that they are telling the truth to avoid malversation through highly skilled account management.
  4. I will highlight evidence-based achievements that reduce criminal behaviour. I will drive the debate toward rehabilitative approaches over punitive ones, explaining that the reduction in crime is only achievable if those committing criminal behavior are dissuaded from doing so, something which increasing and expensive incarceration has failed to achieve.

The purpose of this blog series is to stimulate a debate about where our criminal justice system should be heading.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what the justice priorities should be.

Please use the comments section below or follow the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #nextGrayling

Share This Post

Related posts

On Probation
The Probation Institute’s Justice priorities

Splitting up responsibility for offender management has created a divide between a small national probation service and the 21 CRCs leading a huge increase in bureaucracy and growing professional tensions. The probation profession is potentially being undermined as there is no longer a requirement for CRCs to use staff with recognised probation qualifications. They no longer have to employ qualified probation officers to manage complex cases.

The Prison Governors’ Association justice priorities

We cannot go on thinking we can imprison our way to a safer society, not only is it poor value for money for the taxpayer, it also fails to recognise the evidence already available that there are better and more cost effective ways to protect the public and reduce reoffending.

On Probation
Justice should embrace the treasury

It is this relentless focus on ensuring that everything we do actually achieves our aims that is desperately needed in crime and justice policy. To do something radical such as cutting prison numbers, a new Justice Secretary will need allies and I think the best bet is the Treasury.

On Probation
If Mike Maiden was Justice Secretary…

I want a public sector provider that sits at the heart of the process. I can’t turn the clock back but I can make sure that one part of the system takes overall responsibility. It’s got to be the public sector because I can’t see that justice and transparency are served by any other sector playing the role.

On Probation
If Ellie Cumbo were justice secretary

There are a hundred things I’d like to do as my third priority, like reverse the cuts to prison budgets or fully implement the Corston review. But unless I also happened to have time-shifting superpowers, the likelihood is that I couldn’t afford any of them. But there is one more thing that’s fairly inexpensive, cannot be cast as either soft or illiberal and would finally bring a much-n

RAPt 3 priorities for the new Justice Secretary

How does the new Justice Secretary direct extra resources at interventions that achieve the departmental objective of reducing reoffending, while managing what is likely to be a further 20-30% cut to the departmental budget? A brave leader would use this opportunity to end the madness of the highest prison population in Europe – costing taxpayers over £3 billion per year, a high proportion of which is

One Response

  1. The only way to truly get a functioning criminal justice is to involve those that are in the system. It should not be left to politicians who simply do not have a clue and even worse have little or no interest in educating themselves about what actually goes on and how dysfunctional the system is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Probation posts sponsored by Unilink


Excellence through innovation

Unilink, Europe’s provider of Offender/Probation Management Software


Get every blog post by email for free