It seems Liz Truss launched the Prison and Courts Bill with the intention to do it all – do right by victims of crime; focus on offender education and health; reduce overcrowding; rehabilitating prisoners; empowering governors; make courts more efficient; saving people money on their car insurance premiums.
This article looks at some of the proposals in the Bill and reactions by stakeholders.
The future of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court is far from certain due to a challenging economic climate and concerns among local stakeholders over whether the court provides value for money, an independent evaluation of the innovative court model has warned.
Law centres and advice providers can play a crucial role in helping prisoners to build crime-free lives once they get out jail, and reduce the annual £15bn cost of reoffending, an independent thinktank says today.
The country’s most senior judge has called for fewer offenders to be jailed. Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd said that the prison population, more than 85,000 in England and Wales, was “very, very high”. There are concerns, he told MPs, that it could rise further.
Defendants who go through criminal “online” trials will be under pressure to accept charges and sentences, the charity Centre for Justice Innovation warned in a response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation paper “Transforming our Justice System”.
An online criminal courts system must be accompanied by guidance written in ‘plain English’ so that defendants clearly understand the consequences of their pleas, a thinktank has said in response to the Ministry of Justice and judiciary’s £1bn vision paper.
The idea of ordinary members of the public deciding 95 per cent of criminal cases seems radical. Yet that is local justice, as operated by magistrates for 650 years in courts up and down England and Wales. Now, though, the system faces something of an existential crisis: numbers and the workload are in decline; courts are being closed and new young recruits are in short supply.
The Ministry of Justice and senior judiciary recently put forward reform plans, representing a profound change in how justice may be done in England and Wales in the future. Since the spending review commitment of £700m for court technology last year, details of what reform really means – beyond new iPads in court and a war on paper files – have been much anticipated.