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What should the Home Office’s priorities be on restorative justice?

19 September 2016

As with the Ministry of Justice, the subject of a previous blog, the whole ministerial team at the Home Office changed before the summer, with a fresh face in every ministerial position. Yet, with the previous Home Secretary now in Downing Street, we can reasonably expect more continuity in Home Office policy than in many other departments. Amber Rudd will want to make her mark as Home Secretary, of course, but it’s hard to see a radical reshaping of her predecessor’s agenda.

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Restorative practice and the Department for Education – what’s next?

5 September 2016

Unlike the Ministry of Justice, which was the focus of my blog from 1 August, the Department for Education has seen some ministerial survivors of the recent reshuffle. A new secretary of state, Justine Greening, has come in to replace Nicky Morgan and Nick Boles and Sam Gyimah have moved on (the latter to the Ministry of Justice). But the two key ministers of state, Nick Gibb and Edward Timpson, have survived (as have universities minister Jo Johnson and junior schools minister Lord Nash).

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How can more victims access restorative justice?

15 August 2016

Last week the Office for National Statistics published new data on restorative justice from the Crime Survey for England and Wales. It shows that in 2015-16 only 4.2% of victims of crime where the offender was known to the police recall being offered restorative justice.

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Priorities for the new-look Ministry of Justice

1 August 2016

When Theresa May became Prime Minister in July, she carried out a comprehensive reshuffle which extended far beyond the cabinet. Those expecting continuity were largely confounded, with the Ministry of Justice being particularly affected by the sweeping changes. The entire ministerial team was moved out - most not just out of the department, but out of the government and onto the backbenches.

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We need to talk about Brexit

18 July 2016

It’s been nearly a month since we woke up to Brexit, and things have moved fast. Since then we’ve had Cameron’s resignation, Gove’s Brutus act, ‘mothergate’, new PM Theresa May and the most comprehensive cabinet reshuffle I can remember. More seriously, and away from our political melodrama, the horrific attack in Nice has added yet another incident to the lengthening list of recent events almost too awful to bear. The referendum is so last month.

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A restorative approach to hate crime

4 July 2016

Amid the political and economic turmoil that has followed the vote for Brexit, one of the most upsetting developments has been what appears to be a sharp spike in hate crime. The police have seen a noticeable increase in the number of incidents reported to them, while social media has been flooded with examples of abuse targeted at people who are, or who are thought to be, immigrants.

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Reflections on a terrible week

20 June 2016

When I sit down to write my blogs I normally look back on the previous week’s news to get ideas and inspiration. But last week was unremittingly bleak, with the awful mass shooting in Orlando targeting members of the LGBT community and the tragic murder of the MP Jo Cox, all against a backdrop of the toxic political environment created by the EU referendum campaigns. Within this context, I’ve rarely felt less inspired to write something positive about anything.

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Does rehabilitation matter?

6 June 2016

On Friday, the Labour Campaign for Prison Reform (which doesn’t appear to be in any way formally associated with the party) published an article on the government’s plans for restorative justice. While it is broadly positive, it states that “for restorative justice to be worthwhile, it has to prevent prisoners from reoffending”. Given the renewed focus on rehabilitation in the justice system there is now significant support for this view. But is it right?

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The Laming review - what are the next steps?

23 May 2016

As I’ve written before, it’s a scandal that so many of the children who end up in custody have previously been in care. It’s therefore very welcome that the Prison Reform Trust has sponsored a year-long review into this issue, chaired by Lord Laming, which has reported today. It highlights the urgent need to address this issue if all children in care are to get the best start in life.

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What’s next? The RJC’s plans for the coming year

9 May 2016

From time to time I find it useful to take stock and to look at what projects we have on the go at the RJC, what we have coming up, and what we would like to do next. This helps to ensure that what we are doing is in line with our priorities and aims as an organisation, to check that we have the right balance of work, and to identify any gaps. A month or so into the new financial year we have been going through that process and I thought that it might be useful to share the highlights of our current work programme.