Email Bulletin September 2006
Welcome to the Crime and Society Foundation's monthly email bulletin, bringing you a roundup of news, research, political developments, events and updates on the work of the Foundation.
UNA PADEL- A TRIBUTE
Una Padel, Chair of the Crime and Society Foundation and Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) passed away on Tuesday 29 August 2006. Una's encouragement and advice were crucial in the Foundation's development and staff at the Foundation will miss her enthusiasm, support, wisdom and friendship. An obituary written by Rod Morgan was published in the Guardian on Thursday 7 September. A tribute, written by Tony Pearson, Chair of CCJS, will be available on the CCJS website shortly.
WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?
**DAILY NEWSPAPER SUMMARY LAUNCH**
Staff at the Foundation draw up an informal newspaper summary which we are now placing on our website at about 12 noon each day (Monday to Friday). To view recent summaries and sign up to receive a daily notification when the summary is posted on our site, click here.
RIGHT FOR THE WRONG REASONS
The Foundation will be publishing a monograph entitled Does criminal justice work? the 'Right for the wrong reasons' debate on Monday 30 October 2006. The monograph follows on from the Right for the wrong reasons paper that we published in July, and incorporates responses to that paper from a number of political, public policy and academic commentators: Rob Allen (Director, International Centre for Prison Studies); Geoff Dobson (Deputy Director, Prison Reform Trust); Ian Loader (Director, Centre for Criminology, Oxford University); Joe Sim, (Professor of Criminology, Liverpool John Moores University); Edward Garnier QC MP (Conservative Shadow Minister for Home Affairs) and Nick Clegg MP (Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary). We are grateful for the other responses we received- many of which will be published on our website shortly.
The Foundation will be holding a debate at the Royal Society in October to discuss the points raised by Right for the wrong reasons and the responses to it. To keep up to date on developments in this area, view our website.
WHERE NEXT FOR YOUTH JUSTICE?
The Crime and Society Foundation will be holding an invite only roundtable meeting in early October 2006 to discuss and debate issues raised by a forthcoming pamphlet on youth justice by Rob Allen (Director of the International Centre for Prison Studies and also a member of the Youth Justice Board) to be published by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. The meeting will be attended by a selection of senior civil servants, leading academics and youth justice experts. Professor Rod Morgan, chair of the Youth Justice Board and Professor Phil Scraton of Queen's University Belfast will be the initial respondents to Rob's introduction.
Based on 8 years experience as a member of the Youth Justice Board, Rob Allen is arguing for a fundamental rethink of our approach to youth justice. The following is a brief outline of his argument: 'What is needed is a paradigm shift in which priority is given to meeting the educational and mental health needs of children, a substantial raising of the age at which children are liable for criminal proceedings, an expanded range of community based and residential measures for the most challenging young people. Prison custody should be phased out and an integrated range of services developed by local authorities under the oversight of the Department for Education.' To receive a copy of the pamphlet when it is published, email email@example.com.
COMMUNITIES AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Sean Roberts, Senior Associate at the Crime and Society Foundation, surveys the crowded field of theories about community and how these have (or haven't) informed Labour's commitment to social justice in the recent issue of Criminal Justice Matters magazine. To view Sean's article, click here and to order the full magazine 'Community engagement' and view the contents page, see here.
FRINGE AT CONSERVATIVE PARTY CONFERENCE
Crime and Society Foundation Acting Director, Will McMahon, will be chairing a meeting at the Conservative Party conference titled 'Building a Safer Community - Are human rights the foundations for justice?' The speakers will include David Blunkett MP and Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty. Will was also due to chair the same meeting at the Labour Party conference but is unable to attend as he has been called for jury service.
See here for further information on our projects:
- Anti-social behaviour
- Communities and communitarianism
- The Uses of Research and Evidence Based Policy
- Inevitable criminals
- Harm and crime
- Right for the wrong reasons
TAKE A LOOK AT...
FOCUSING ON THE PERSISTENTLY EXCLUDED
Blair says we must deal with the persistently excluded and focus on families with complex problems arguing that 'the Respect Task Force identified 7,500 such families. A child born into the most disadvantaged 5 per cent of families is 100 times more likely to have multiple problems at age 15 than a child from the 50 per cent best-off' (Blair, 5 September 2006). However, not all agree with this perspective such as Professor Jillian MacGuire and others in letters to the Guardian.
A copy of Blair's speech and various 'expert' papers can be viewed here.
MAKING SENSE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE FAILURE
In the forthcoming issue of the 'Renewal' journal, Richard Garside outlines the argument in the Foundation's pamphlet, Right for the wrong reasons. To view the article, click here.
HOME OFFICE CANNOT BE TRUSTED ON CRIME FIGURES SAYS WATCHDOG
Newspapers report that the Statistics Commission report into the crime statistics says that the Home Office should be stripped of involvement in publication to help restore public confidence (05/09/06). The Home Office rejects any accusation of ministerial interference. Richard Garside, Acting Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is quoted in the Daily Telegraph (05/09/06) - 'small wonder that so many doubt the Government's claims about crime when the department with most to gain from good news stories is also responsible for publishing the crime figures'. Details of the Commission's report can be viewed here.
Meanwhile...HOME OFFICE RESEARCH PAUSE CONTINUES...
DANGEROUS OFFENDERS - FINDING THE RIGHT APPROACH.
The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) will be holding a one day conference on 15th November 2006 in London. The conference will explore the issues around working with dangerous offenders, sentencing arrangements, parole decision making and licence conditions. Speakers include Andrew Bridges (HM Chief Inspector of Probation), John Scott (Head of Public Protection), Rachel Wingfield (Chair of Centre for Attachment-Based Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy) and Professor Hazel Kemshall (De Montfort University). For more details and a copy of the conference flyer contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A booking form will be available on the CCJS website from Friday 8th September.
IN THE NEWS...
NEW OFFENCES, FOR THE SAME OLD REASONS
An Independent leader (22/08/06) reminds us of Tony Blair's call six years ago for ministers to come up with 'eye-catching initiatives'. The leader goes on to argue that few of the Home Office's new laws have made us substantially safer, for example: 'The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies warned last week that the tougher penalties that have been introduced by the Government for carrying knives are, if anything, liable to exacerbate the problem of knife crime. The think tank argues that ministers should be conducting proper research into why more young people are using knives, rather than pandering to the moral panic whipped up by the right wing media. The same criticism could be made of almost all of the 60 bills and 430 offences introduced by the Home Office since 1997'.
SEDUCED BY THE POLITICS OF PENAL POPULISM
Professor David Wilson, of UCE Birmingham in the Independent (16/08/06), says that crime is a complex phenomenon which has more to do with underlying economic causes and the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and as such can remain almost untouched by each new act that seems to promise much, but often delivers very little. Rather than creating ever-more offences, the best way to have an impact on crime is for government to see 'its purpose in creating opportunities for employment, ensuring that our children get access to good schools and well-qualified teachers, and that this is underpinned by a welfare safety net to provide a bulwark against the extremes of poverty.'
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
'Una Padel, who has died aged 50 from cancer, was director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College London from 1999, and throughout her adult life demonstrated an unselfish, single-minded commitment to penal reform. Her agenda was firmly rooted in a profound sense of social justice. Her contribution was analytical, but always practical. It stemmed from an incisive understanding of and empathy with the underdog. She kept a bright, well-organised light burning for decency and justice during a period when an increasingly party political mood of penal populism threatened to sweep away hard fought for principles and structures.' Rod Morgan in the Guardian, 07/09/06.