As they say “timing is everything”, so congratulations to the staff at Thames Valley Probation who have scooped a prestigious national award for their pioneering work introducing restorative justice as part of community sentences. The probation trust won the award at this year’s Howard League for Penal Reform’s Community Programmes Awards, which is pretty timely as the whole RJ agenda seems to be shooting back up the ‘this is really important stuff’ agenda.
Justice Minister Crispin Blunt, speaking at NACRO, gave his first public speech this week on the direction and reform of the criminal justice system.
In the speech he called for more restorative justice and recompense for victims; improved rehabilitation of offenders; smarter sentencing; more decision- making at local level; increased voluntary sector involvement and more effective community sentences.
Detailed plans in the speech include:
- reviewing sentencing policy and providing more effective community sentences, such as more robust community payback
- introducing a Green Paper in the autumn which will reassess the effectiveness of indeterminate sentences (IPPs), bearing in mind the growing IPP prison population
- exploring the use of more restorative justice across every phase of the criminal justice process
- allowing for deductions from prisoners’ earnings in properly paid work to contribute towards victims’ services
- empowering local agencies (including criminal justice, health and Jobcentre Plus) to work together in tackling social issues faced by many offenders
- devolving funding and decision-making to local groups with more emphasis on voluntary and third-sector led services
- opening up competition in penal services and paying providers by results and,
- providing support for skills development in prisons.
Looks pretty much like RJ is moving swiftly up the agenda (That’s gotta make Sir Charles happy!).
So. Well done once again to the TV Probation Trust. Everyone else. Time to take a good look at how you are using RJ and whether it currently has a clear place on your partnership agenda?
- The Government’s vision for criminal justice reform
- 7 principles of justice reform
- Confidence in the Criminal Justice System
- Engaging Communities in Criminal Justice (Summary)
- PSA 24 – Delivering a more effective, transparent and responsive Criminal Justice System for victims and the public