Today, the Justice Secretary David Gauke made a speech at the Centre for Social Justice about prison reform. His announcement of additional investment in installing in-cell telephones in prisons is a welcome move.
Firstly, we are aware that adolescence is a time of experimentation as well as a pivotal point of transition from childhood to adulthood. Secondly, young people will seek to take risks at this period of time in their life cycle with very little thought of the long term consequences.
Our court system has its own sense of style, dark wood panelling, a golden crest, and the dock, its own set of rules, to bow or not bow, and even its own language, mitigation, adjournment and remand. For those who appear in court, the whole experience can feel not only intimidating but alien.
Manchester has led the way on problem solving courts in the UK for more than a decade. Projects like Stockport Problem-Solving Court and Manchester Women’s Court have been important examples of what can be achieved when court work in partnership with other agencies to find long-term solutions to offending.