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Conservative Policy Forum Justice: securing justice effectively and efficiently

Conservative Policy Forum Justice: securing justice effectively and efficiently

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Conservative Policy Forum Justice: securing justice effectively and efficiently

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  1. Conservative Policy ForumJustice: securing justice effectively and efficiently

  2. Justice and the Deficit Scale. In 2010-11, the police recorded 4.2 million crimes in England and Wales. In 2011, criminal court proceedings were commenced against 1.56 million people. Out of court disposals, such as cautions and penalty notices, were issued to an additional 439,400 people. Costs. In 2010-11, more than £9.7 billion was spent on policing. This does not include the cost of other law enforcement agencies, such as HM Revenue and Customs. Legal aid costs £39 per head of population annually. Our spending on criminal courts, prosecutions and legal aid as a percentage of GDP per capita is average when compared with other countries in Europe, at 0.33 per cent. Costs of sentences. The average annual cost per prisoner in England and Wales in 2010-11 was £37,000. A person in a Young Offender Institution costs about £60,000 a year. It costs four times as much to put a young person through the criminal justice system as it does to keep them out of it. Community sentences cost on average £2,100 per year per offender.

  3. Justice and the Deficit What Conservatives in Government have done so far: • The Crime and Courts Bill permits the costs of chasing unpaid fines to be charged to the defaulter, not the taxpayer. • The Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) delivers structural reforms to the administration of legal aid, to reduce the amount spent on legal aid and target the limited financial resources available to those who need it most and for the most serious cases. • The Ministry of Justice is working to reduce its workforce by around 14-15,000 posts between May 2010 and March 2015 by maintaining a tight control on staff recruitment and restructuring the department. Question: Is it right for the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and judges to take into account the pressures on the public purse when considering, respectively, whether to investigate an allegation, whether to prosecute a case or when sentencing a convicted defendant?

  4. Alternatives to custody Sentencing. Over 1.3 million people are sentenced in criminal courts in England and Wales each year. Just over 65 per cent of those sentences are fines. 8 per cent were sentenced to immediate imprisonment in 2011. Prison population. There are currently 86,980 people in prison in England and Wales, in prisons designed to hold a maximum of 90,141. Prisoner numbers have more than doubled since 1992. Short sentences. Last year, 24,238 offenders received prison sentences of 12 months or less. Those given sentences of less than 12 months are 4.4 per cent more likely to reoffend than those sentenced to 1 to 2 years and between 5 and 9 percentage points more likely than those given community orders and suspended sentence orders. 74 per cent of those jailed for less than 12 months are reconvicted within two years.

  5. Alternatives to custody What Conservatives in Government have done so far: • The Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) creates tougher community sentences with longer curfews for offenders. • LASPO creates a new youth remand and sentencing structure, which gives more flexibility to courts to decide on appropriate disposals. Question: What can be done to change the public’s perception that community sentences do not punish defendants sufficiently?

  6. Demographic ageing Older prisoners. People aged 60 and over are the fastest growing age group in the prison estate. In June 2010 there were 8,263 prisoners aged over 50 in England and Wales, of which 2,849 were aged 60 and over. This total figure represents just under 10 per cent of the total prison population. What Conservatives in Government have done so far: • Enhanced co-operation between the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health to improve mental health provisions in the prison estate. Question: The fastest growing age group in the prison population is those aged 60 and over, yet prison infrastructure has not kept pace with this trend. Should the age of a defendant influence their sentence and the design of our prison system?

  7. Restorative Justice Restorative justice (RJ). RJ gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers to their questions, and an apology. Over half of victims said that taking part in RJ had given them a sense of closure and almost 40 per cent said that they felt more secure after taking part. RJ also reduces the frequency of re-offending by 14 per cent. Some trials estimate that RJ can deliver cost savings of up to £9 for every £1 spent. Some schemes have used restorative justice as an alternative to prosecution. Under one voluntary initiative, an apology to the victim and in-depth interview took place. Then the victim, offender and a police officer agreed how to proceed; the offender might meet with a youth worker, a careers service worker or a Prison Service group session. Young offenders then received a final warning or official police reprimand, while adult offenders received a police caution. Restorative justice can also be used in cases that proceed to court, as part of the sentencing exercise.

  8. Restorative Justice What Conservatives in Government have done so far: • Piloted Neighbourhood Justice Panels to involve community representatives in finding restorative solutions to anti-social behaviour and low level crime. • Worked with Youth Offending Teams and Probation and Prison Services to set out guidance and minimum standards for developing more and better restorative justice practices. • Developing a cross-criminal justice system framework for restorative justice approaches, due for completion in November 2012. Question: Given the success of restorative justice in the youth justice system, should its wider use be piloted in appropriate cases amongst defendants aged 18 years old or older?

  9. Reducing Re-offending Reducing re-offending. In 2011, 327,900 people were convicted of indictable (or serious) offences. Of those, 31 per cent had 15 or more previous convictions and cautions, only 10 per cent had no previous conviction. Young adults. Young adults aged 18-24 constitute less than 10 per cent of the population but make up more than one-third of those commencing a community order or suspended sentence order, one-third of the probation service's caseload and almost one-third of those sentenced to prison each year. Seventy five per cent of offenders sentenced to youth custody re-offend within a year of release.

  10. Reducing Re-offending What Conservatives in Government have done so far: • Piloted a ‘payment by results’ rehabilitation scheme and begun the process of rolling out the principles of payment by results across the offender management system. • Begun the roll-out of ten drugs recovery prison wings, working with Department of Health. • Implemented a pilot to test the joint commissioning of employment and reduced reoffending outcomes in two Work Programme areas, working with the Department of Work and Pensions. Question: How can government policy reduce re-offending rates? For example, should ex-offenders be able to expunge their criminal records more easily, to help them gain employment?

  11. Topical question What role do you think that the new elected Police and Crime Commissioners can play in representing the interests of the victims of crime?