Articles

CALL FOR PAPERS: Making a restorative criminal justice system a reality

Published: 29/11/2019

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…

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CHILDREN’S CARE SYSTEM, THE LINKS BETWEEN CARE AND CUSTODY AND THE ROLE OF ALCOHOL IN CHILD NEGLECT

Published: 20/11/2019

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.

DEVELOPING COMMUNITY COURTS WITH RESTORATIVE JUSTICE IN IRELAND

Published: 20/11/2019

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.

RESEARCHING HEALTHCARE AVAILABILITY FOR PROBATION CLIENTS: AN ILLUSTRATION OF METHODOLOGICAL CHALLENGES AND LESSONS IN SURVEYING ORGANISATIONS

Published: 20/11/2019

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.

THE MENOPAUSE AND THE FEMALE POLICE WORKFORCE

Published: 20/11/2019

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.

HELP: A PRACTITIONERS’ PERSPECTIVE ON PROGRAMMES FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE PERPETRATORS. A QUALITATIVE STUDY

Published: 20/11/2019

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.

CHALLENGES OF GENDER-RESPONSIVITY IN PROBATION WORK WITH WOMEN SERVICE USERS

Published: 20/11/2019

This article reports on research into the supervision of women probationers in England. It is contextualised through a review of the literature on good practice, with particular focus on Corston’s (2007) recommendations and subsequent guidance documents and through discussion of the organisational context. The research took place during a period of substantial change and corresponding uncertainty within the probation service, prior to and during the implementation process of Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) which took place between January 2014 and February 2015. Drawing on qualitative data derived from extensive analysis of videos of supervision sessions and interviews with probation workers and women probationers, the research highlights the importance and extent of practitioner awareness of gender-responsivity issues. These are of particular relevance where women probationers have experienced extensive victimisation. The article considers implications for probation practice, emphasising the importance of responsivity to women probationers, and discusses the place of and attitudes towards women-only provision. Specific organisational barriers to implementation of a gender-responsive approach in the short and long-term are explored against the backdrop of the TR initiative.

Editorial (Volume 15, Issue 2)

Published: 20/11/2019

As my co-editor Jean Hine observed in a past issue of our journal: ‘The Criminal Justice System, along with many public services, is in a state of flux, with numerous proposals, white papers and legislation in various stages of implementation’ (Hine 2012:1). Certainly in England and Wales, one might be tempted to suggest that over the last decade or more the criminal justice system has been in a permanent state of flux. The part-renationalisation of probation continues in England and…

CALL FOR PAPERS: ‘20 years since Macpherson’: A British Journal of Community Justice special issue on racism and hate crime

Published: 28/03/2019

The Macpherson report, also known as the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, was published in February 1999. The ‘unprovoked’ racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, and the subsequent failures of the police investigation, led to ‘70 recommendations aimed at “the elimination of racist prejudice and disadvantage and the demonstration of fairness in all aspects of policing.”’. These recommendations included those aiming at openness and accountability, a sharpening of focus through the definition of a ‘racist incident’, proposals for the reporting, investigation and prosecution of racist crimes, support for victims and witnesses, and training for police staff in response to ‘institutional racism’. After 20 years, the landscape has developed – with new legislation, practices, organisations – and so the time is ripe for an assessment of hate crime, institutional racism, and the British response in 2019.

This special issue of the British Journal of Community Justice will examine current and potential future developments in hate crime and institutional racism. The journal is policy and practitioner as well as scholar focused, so writing will be aimed at this wider audience, as well as including writing by policy-makers and practitioners. The special issue will not reheat past debates, through thinking about whether all crime is hate crime, whether additional punishment for hate crimes are justified, or whether state bodies are or can be institutionally racist. We believe there is perhaps more fertile ground in thinking about the processes of crime and justice, from victim, victim services, criminal justice system and perpetrator. This, of course, may bring in other forms of conflict or problems by the backdoor, as victim/CJS/perpetrator relationships may shift from hate-related to not.

We therefore call for abstracts or outlines of papers from prospective contributors that address the broad theme of developments since Macpherson, in the UK or with comparison to elsewhere. Suggestions of potential themes are given below, but these are not restrictive.

Please send abstracts or outlines of up to 200 words to Gavin Bailey and Kris Christmann (g.bailey@mmu.ac.uk and k.christmann@hud.ac.uk) by April 26 2019. Alternatively, do get in touch if there is an idea you would like to discuss.

Potential themes:

- How have police forces changed, both in terms of those recruited, and in their training and practice, since Macpherson (i.e. are changes more presentational/expressive than real – performance, framing, etc. )?
- How have other parts of the CJS changed in this period?
- How have the barriers to better community-police relations changed since the 1990s, including regarding different sections of society, and the impact of counter-terrorism?
- How do the spectrum of hate offences compare across different victim categories? Is there a differential response? This could be addressed at a statistical level, or by considering street-level bureaucracy.
- What has the strategic prioritisation of hate crime by police forces accomplished? Is hate crime policy being interpreted into practice; has there been policy drift; is multi-agency engagement still appropriate?
- What are the alternatives to criminal justice responses? Should we involve private actors in service delivery, or what can we learn from the private sector more general which is applicable to tackling a problem like hate crime? How are restorative justice approaches used?
- Perpetrators and the pathways into hate offending
- Prison conflict, including racialized gangs and hate crime inside prison
- Public understanding of criminal justice in the area of hate crime, including expectations of what should be reported, what will be done in response and so on.

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