The latest news about criminal justice issues from around the UK, drawn from media websites,
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  Friday, June 4, 2017

One of the country's senior judges has been summoned to sit as a juror in a criminal trial as part of a government initiative designed to make the middle classes play a greater role in the justice system.
Lord Justice Dyson, of the Court of Appeal, is the first High Court judge and possibly the first member of the judiciary to be called to jury service. He will lead the way for thousands of other members of the legal profession, the clergy, the police and armed forces, who are all now eligible to sit as jurors.
9:21:34 AM    comment []

Mounted police officers will mark the 175th anniversary of the Metropolitan Police with a parade from Hyde Park.
More than 100 horses will make their way to Horse Guards' Parade watched by an invited audience of 6,000 people.
9:21:02 AM    comment []

Thursday, June 3, 2009

The powers of Home Office officials charged with ensuring the "fair and lawful treatment of prisoners" inside Britain's private jails are to be handed over to the private companies to boost their competitiveness.
Leaked Home Office internal correspondence seen by the Guardian discloses that the responsibility of these officials -known as controllers - for internal prison discipline is also to be transferred to the director or governor of each private prison.
8:26:28 AM    comment []

When the history of audacious jail breaks is written, Audie Carr and Benjamin Clarke will command a page of their own.
While other inmates dream of freedom, they are the first known convicts to abscond in search of a stricter regime.
8:26:03 AM    comment []

A second Yorkshire city is to install high-definition cameras after the "exceptional" results of trial in Bradford which police have compared to DNA-profiling as a crime-fighting weapon.
The cameras read the numberplate of every vehicle entering the city and automatically alerts police when cameras pick up details of wanted or stolen cars.
8:25:32 AM    comment []

Boredom remains the excuse of choice for teenagers who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
They also blame their delinquency on the influence of friends, pressure to impress their peers, drinking, truanting and taking drugs.
8:25:01 AM    comment []

A 66-year-old retired concert pianist was jailed yesterday in the first successful UK prosecution for so-called "sex tourism" under new laws to try to stop British paedophiles abusing children abroad.
8:24:16 AM    comment []

Levels of truancy, serious offending, drinking and smoking are rising among teenagers, and more are falling victim to crime, according to a study of classrooms in England and Wales.
8:22:25 AM    comment []

Wednesday, June 2, 2009

The chairman of Scotland's parole board has voiced concerns about the automatic prisoner release system.
Since 1993, prisoners sentenced to four years or more are automatically released on licence when they have served two thirds of their sentence.
10:12:53 AM    comment []

A security firm which mistakenly released prisoners in Scotland has won a huge new contract south of the border for transporting inmates.
Reliance freed three prisoners in error soon after taking over the prisoner escort contract in Scotland.
It has now won an expanded £250,000, seven-year contract to provide court and custodial services in south Wales and west England.
10:12:13 AM    comment []

Is the bus shelter - traditional refuge for bored teenagers - getting a post-modern regeneration twist? A new scheme is planning to create "youth shelters" in an attempt to give teenagers a place of their own, and at the same time cut crime.
10:11:31 AM    comment []

Tuesday, June 1, 2009

Major insurance companies are denying home insurance or refusing claims to households where somebody has a criminal conviction, according to a new study.
Five out of six leading companies approached by a researcher posing as an ex-offender - with a conviction for assault rather than fraud or theft - refused him building or contents cover because of his criminal record. Direct Line and Lombard Direct said they could not offer cover until 10 years after the conviction; Egg and Churchill would only offer cover after five years; and Eagle Star said it would not offer cover under any circumstances.
9:37:34 AM    comment []

A new authority made up of the merged Prison and Probation Services officially goes live today.
The creation of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is part of a Government strategy to cut prisoner numbers and reduce re-offending.
Home Secretary David Blunkett announced the merger earlier this year as part of a wider package of reforms.
9:37:05 AM    comment []

The world-renowned Forensic Science Service could be controlled by venture capitalists in a controversial partial privatisation that could fetch close to £100 million.
The news will spread panic among trade unions, police and backbench MPs who fear that the service, which provides the police with forensic experts at crime scenes, will increase the price it charges the constabularies.
9:36:37 AM    comment []

Residents living in some of Manchester's gun crime hotspots are getting first aid training to use at the scenes of shootings.
Red Cross officials are due to give lessons on basic first aid in Moss Side and Hulme on Tuesday.
The aim is to give them the skills to treat gun victims in the vital few minutes before emergency crews arrive.
9:36:01 AM    comment []

A team dedicated to reducing youth crime is celebrating being named as the best in the country.
West Berkshire Youth Offending Team (YOT) has been ranked top of the nationwide performance tables for the first four months of 2009.
The team is staffed by around 40 workers and volunteers.
BBCA team dedicated to reducing youth crime is celebrating being named as the best in the country.
West Berkshire Youth Offending Team (YOT) has been ranked top of the nationwide performance tables for the first four months of 2009.
The team is staffed by around 40 workers and volunteers.
9:35:25 AM    comment []

Babies in prison mother-and-baby units are being taken from their mothers well before the age of one year as a matter of policy, without any research to back it up.
The Prison Service policy of separating "sooner rather than later" has come under the spotlight through a court battle by a reformed drug addict to keep her daughter with her for as long as possible.
Claire Frost, whose story is told on BBC2 tonight, launched her legal battle when the authorities decided to send her baby, Lia-Jade, away at nine months to be cared for by Ms Frost's parents. Several other women have taken similar cases to court, but their identities have been protected.
9:34:38 AM    comment []

Prison officers set inmates from different social backgrounds against one another in an effort to maintain control of overcrowded jails, penal reform campaigners claimed today.
Inmates from different ethnic or religious backgrounds, or even supporters of rival football clubs, are placed together in cells to "divide and rule" the prison population, said Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform.
9:34:02 AM    comment []

"Having problems with crack cocaine?" asks a leaflet pinned on the packed advice noticeboard at the Barton community centre in the middle of one of Oxford's satellite council estates.
Upstairs in the bar the home secretary, David Blunkett, is making clear to a packed local audience that the pressure on Britain's prisons will carry on growing until the "people who are behaving abominably" get the message that they will be dealt with toughly.
But it quickly becomes apparent that the invited audience, which includes police and probation officers, crime reduction managers, neighbourhood watch people and local residents, are not afraid to criticise or put forward their own ideas.
9:33:29 AM    comment []

An unprecedented number of female prisoners have killed themselves over the last two months, prompting fears of a suicide "epidemic" in women's jails.
New Prison Service figures reveal that a total of six female inmates have taken their lives since 1 April. That compares to a total of 14 prisoners who killed themselves throughout the whole of last year - itself a record for women suicides in jails.
9:32:47 AM    comment []

People aged 18 to 20 convicted of a social offence have a 72 per cent chance of reoffending. But pilot community schemes may help them go straight.
9:31:10 AM    comment []

Civil liberty campaigners said last night they would raise no fundamental objections to plans to introduce compulsory lie detector tests and satellite tracking of sex offenders in Britain.
9:30:31 AM    comment []

"Neighbours from hell" who are evicted from their council homes will have to agree to take compulsory rehabilitation programmes to get rehoused under new government plans.
The home secretary, David Blunkett, has acknowledged the criticism that evicting anti- social families and simply rehousing them means that someone else gets the nuisance neighbour.
He wants to use little-known powers in the new anti-social behaviour legislation to ensure that they take part in a rehabilitation programme when they are rehoused.
9:27:33 AM    comment []

Barristers vowed last night to continue their boycott of a new criminal legal aid payment scheme, an act of defiance which may force judges to release defendants accused of some of the most serious murders and terrorist offences.
9:26:54 AM    comment []

Friday, May 28, 2009

An inspection of Cornton Vale, Stirling, Scotland's only all-female jail, has shown the number of inmates is significantly higher than it was two years ago - despite pledges by Scottish ministers to try to cut the figure.
8:20:46 AM    comment []

The government may keep watch over sex offenders released from prison by using satellite-tracking and lie detectors, under plans to be unveiled on Friday.
David Blunkett revealed the plans on Thursday, as a "key part" of law and order policy for a third Labour term.
Police and probation officers would track convicts given community sentences or released on licence.

Detectives are investigating claims that prison officers at a young offenders' institute organised bets on fights between black and white inmates, it emerged last night.
Officers at Feltham young offenders' institute in west London are said to have put white youths and black youths in the same cells and bet on how long it would be before they attacked each other.
8:19:46 AM    comment []

Pauline Campbell, a former civil servant and college lecturer, was arrested outside Holloway prison yesterday while protesting about what she said was the inhuman treatment of women inmates.
She has been a vociferous critic of the prison system since the death of her 18-year-old daughter, Sarah, at Styal prison in 2003. Sarah, an only child, was the third of six women to die at the Cheshire jail in a 12-month period.
8:19:14 AM    comment []

The organisation set up to strip criminals of their ill-gotten gains has had a workload almost three times bigger than expected in its first year, its annual report revealed yesterday.
Police and other law enforcement bodies have given the Assets Recovery Agency 142 cases since its launch in February 2003. Its original target was 50. The ARA, aided by the Proceeds of Crime Act, froze £14.8m in assets in its first 12 months, well ahead of its £10m target.
8:18:49 AM    comment []

Thousands of prison workers have begun a 24-hour strike from Friday over a long-running pay dispute.
Industrial and agricultural staff are taking action over a 1% pay rise for 2003 imposed by the Prison Service.
8:17:04 AM    comment []

Thursday, May 27, 2009

Britain's last remaining high security prison unit for women is to close, the Prison Service has announced.
The news comes on the day a heavily critical report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers, on the "She Wing" of Durham Prison was released.
She said the jail - where six female inmates have committed suicide in 18 months - was "oppressive" and an "unsuitable environment to hold women".
7:59:44 PM    comment []

Police plan to publish pictures of people who fail to attend court for serious crimes, including burglary, robbery or assault, on their website.
Avon and Somerset Police say the 'wanted' gallery will cover both the magistrates' and crown courts.


7:59:09 PM  

More than £3m has been taken out of the hands of Northern Ireland's organised criminals by the Assets Recovery Agency in its first year in operation.
The police and customs services referred 27 cases to the agency, resulting in 19 live investigations with combined assets in excess of £8 million.
7:58:47 PM    

Leaving prison and starting afresh should be a simple matter of deciding to put the past behind you and staying out of trouble.
But for many prisoners, particularly the young, things are not that easy, and huge numbers end up re-offending.
As many as eight out of 10 under-18s will return to crime within two years of leaving custody, as will three quarters of 15 to 21-year-olds, says crime reduction charity Nacro.
7:58:26 PM    

There are calls for more support for foreign prisoners at Morton Hall jail near Lincoln.
Two thirds of the women inmates are foreign nationals, many of whom are serving time for smuggling drugs.
In a report, the Prison Reform Trust says although the jail has taken positive steps to address the needs of the inmates, it needs to do more.
7:58:03 PM    comment []

Queen's Counsel are to survive despite an attempt to kill them off after 400 years, the Government announced yesterday.
For the time being, they will be selected by the lawyers' professional bodies, using improved criteria, instead of by civil servants. Otherwise, there will be little change.

7:57:34 PM    comment []

Lessons have been learned by the company which took over the running of the prison escort service, according to its Scottish operations director.
Campbell O'Connell said Reliance Custodial Services was confident that the next phase of its £126m contract will be approved next month.
7:57:02 PM    comment []

Attempts to cut crime in Sheffield are being hampered by a lack of treatment for drug addicts, a report says.
It is claimed users in the city have to wait up to 10 weeks for residential drug treatment which is three times longer than elsewhere in the UK.
7:56:22 PM    comment []

Home Office minister Paul Goggins has warned prison officers they must sign a new workplace protocol despite threats of strikes this summer.
7:55:56 PM    comment []

The Guardian has formed a coaching partnership with Pentonville Prison to help improve the running of the institution and help develop the range of services to inmates.
7:52:02 PM    comment []

Due to technical difficulties there will be a delay in updating today's weblog.
8:53:02 AM    comment []

Wednesday, May 26, 2009

Offenders fear they will resume drug use back in the community More must be done to stop the "postcode lottery" of provision for drug-addicted persistent offenders after prison, a think tank has said.
A massive expansion in residential centres is needed, the Re-thinking Crime and Punishment group believes.
Money for treatment centres should be ring-fenced to stop local authorities spending it on other services, it said.
8:15:58 AM    comment []

Staffordshire police will be one of five forces in England to gain a top grade under a tougher Home Office regime for measuring how well the police are performing. It says a big reason for its performance is down to a business-intelligence system that enables officers to quickly analyse and act on information about crime.
8:15:24 AM    comment []

The title of Queen's Counsel has won a temporary reprieve under plans to be unveiled today for radical reform of the 400-year-old system for marking out an elite cadre of advocates who are entitled to charge higher fees.
8:14:51 AM    comment []

Saying "bloody foreigners" can turn an offence into a racially aggravated one, the high court ruled yesterday.
8:12:25 AM    

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Updated: 4/6/09; 9:51:32 am. 

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