COVID-19 was first detected in the prison estate in England and Wales in March 2020 and spread rapidly amongst prisoners and staff. Several policy initiatives were introduced in an attempt to improve the ability to carry out social distancing within the prison estate, reduce the transmission of the disease within prisons and manage cases as they arose. Policies which involved the temporary release of prisoners, increasing accommodation levels within the estate and the cohorting of prisoners presenting with symptoms were all introduced in an attempt to mitigate the impact of the disease. These policies were neither effective nor implemented in a timely manner, and the delay risked increasing the spread of the disease throughout the prison estate. Drawing upon evidence from both public health and social policy research, the following commentary discusses the impact of COVID-19 within the prison estate, and the effects of a policy approach that lacked timeliness and action, on the effective management of pandemics in prison.
This paper investigates UK pupil experience of racism and race-hate-related extremism. World Café research was conducted with 57 school and college pupils aged 14–17 years from a city in the Midlands. The college students mainly reflected upon their secondary school experience. Follow-up questionnaires captured demographics. Just under half of the participants were black and minority ethnic (BAME) pupils, and the rest were white British. Race-hate victimisation ranged from verbal abuse to physical assault, including Islamophobic abuse (including headscarves being removed) and attacks with weapons. Some experiences indicated underlying far-right extremist ideology. Teachers were perceived as favouring white pupils when incidents occurred, with some teachers described as ‘racist’. As well as racial hate between white and BAME pupils and between BAME pupils of different origins, inter-school racial conflict was apparent. Schools with higher BAME pupil populations were negatively labelled by pupils from white majority schools. Both BAME and white pupils reported being victims of racial abuse, but BAME victimisation was more apparent in school. Race-hate in schools was reflected in the community and exacerbated through social media communication and media reporting. The British government needs to better address racism and race-related far-right extremism in schools in conjunction with community efforts.
In the years since the publication of the Macpherson report, many countries across the world have implemented policy and legislative frameworks in order to respond more effectively to hate crime. Within the UK, and despite laudable progress in some contexts, a set of significant challenges remains in relation to the under-reporting of hate crime, widespread victim dissatisfaction with police responses and inconsistent recording practices. This broader landscape of flawed responses illustrates the need for and importance of effective training for police professionals. However, little is known in connection to what training is delivered and to whom, despite a series of government action plans committing to the rollout of a national training package.
Drawing from a body of empirical evidence gathered from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, in-depth semi-structured interviews and observations of police training, this article highlights that although hate crime training is being delivered within forces, a series of structural, organisational, operational and individual barriers are undermining its delivery and effectiveness. At a time when levels of hate crime are rising, it is imperative that police officers and staff are equipped with the necessary understanding and skills to deliver a service which meets the needs of diverse communities. This article identifies how existing training provision can be improved in order to facilitate such an outcome.
Since our very first issue, the British Journal of Community Justice has sought to examine the potential for restorative practice to be applied to the criminal justice system. Guy Master’s paper, published in Issue 1:1, was written while he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Restorative Justice, Australian National University. At the time he was on leave from his post as Referral Order Manager at the Essex Family Group Conferencing Service. Guy’s paper reflected on the involvement…
On 19 March 2019, Sir Martin Narey gave his inaugural address on being appointed Visiting Professor at the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) at Manchester Metropolitan University. In this, he reflected on his life and career in the Prison Service Barnardo’s and roles for Government since retirement. In doing so he commented on the links between alcohol, imprisonment and the care system. This paper reproduces this inaugural address.
In 2007 the Irish National Crime Council recommended that community courts should be established in Ireland, located in the inner city of Dublin, to deal with quality-of-life offences. In 2009 the final report of the National Commission on Restorative Justice recommended that restorative justice be legislated for, and introduced nationally in the criminal justice system in Ireland, by no later than 2015. Now, in 2019, we are still awaiting the introduction of community courts and the national rollout of restorative justice. Some progress, however, has been made in both areas. In 2014 the Minister for Justice announced that a pilot scheme would be established in Dublin, through which a community court would be established. Close monitoring and evaluation would determine whether community courts should then be rolled out on a national level. Several restorative justice schemes around the country have been expanded since the publication of the final report of the National Commission on Restorative Justice (2009), and a small but dedicated restorative justice movement is developing in Ireland. This paper argues that the rollout of restorative justice should coincide with the development and rollout of community courts in Ireland, and that community courts should contain an element of restorative justice. It also argues that the recent expansion of restorative justice schemes should be allowed to continue independently of the development of community courts in order to help facilitate a national rollout of restorative justice in the Irish criminal justice system.
This article critically reflects on the methodological approach used in a multi-method study of healthcare provision for probation service clients in England. The study involved gathering data from a range of large criminal justice and health organisations. Drawing on the literature and using learning from this study as an example, we address two central questions which evolved during the research: why was it more difficult to gain access in some organisations than others, and what methodological strategies might best improve engagement with research in the future? We discuss gatekeeping, and the impact of organisational resources, culture, responsibilities, change and objectives on engagement with research. We make recommendations for future methodological approaches to address these challenges, which are relevant to researchers in any discipline trying to engage organisations in research.
Drawing upon previously unpublished findings from a wider study that addressed the impact of austerity and force change programmes upon the older female police workforce, this paper presents secondary analysis of focus group data to address the equality impact of such developments. The paper directs particular attention to additional challenges faced by women experiencing the menopause and menopause transition. Focus groups were undertaken between November 2012 and June 2013, across 14 force areas within England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The findings raise questions regarding the service’s compliance with the legal obligations set out within the public sector general equality duty, which requires organisations to consider how they could positively contribute to the advancement of equality and remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics. The paper concludes by arguing that it is necessary to consider the intersectionality of age and gender, and to further disaggregate (and make publicly available) workforce data to take into account various subcategories of women and men that make up the police workforce. Finally, the paper highlights the need to take into account wider national and international gender equality policy when entering into ‘the future of policing’ policy discussions, and within future policing equality and diversity strategy.
Domestic abuse perpetrators are a significant proportion of the Probation Services caseload. Domestic abuse often has long-term problems and generational consequences for children, families and communities in terms of the repetition of abusive and violent behaviours. In the criminal justice system there are several innovative approaches to tackling domestic abuse. The newly formed Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) has developed HELP as an early programme with the aim of reducing the long-term consequences of unhealthy relationships. This qualitative study gives an insight into practitioners’ perspectives on HELP. Firstly, this study strongly suggests that the approach, delivery and content of HELP are in keeping with the current desistance literature and that the programme is a positive example of innovative, skilled and creative practice. Secondly, for effective practice with perpetrators of domestic abuse there must be a multi-dimensional approach, a professional commitment and dynamic practice in times of tremendous change and uncertainty.