Earlier than expected, the country will go to the polls on 8th June to elect a new UK parliament. The 2017 General Election campaign is underway and most of the main parties have now published their manifestos.
To pull together this blog we have used the excellent work of the Criminal Justice Alliance as source material. They helpfully summarised the full justice aspects of the Conservative, Labour, and Lib Dem manifestos and produced mini-briefings. We encourage you to read them in full, and if you want to receive CJA bulletins then email email@example.com.
Whatever the outcome after 8th June, Clinks will advocate for a programme of Government and policies which see and optimise the contribution of voluntary organisations working with people in the criminal justice system and their families to create the futures they deserve. Voluntary organisations interested in speaking out and speaking up during the campaign period, but unsure of the rules, can access tips from our colleagues at NCVO https://www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/information/campaigning/general-election-2017
- Will turn prisons into 'places of safety, discipline and hard work, where people are helped to turn their lives around'
- Will invest over £1bn to modernise the prison estate, replacing the most dilapidated prisons and creating 10,000 modern prison places
- Will reduce the disproportionate use of force against black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) people in custody and legislate if progress is not made
- Will reform the entry requirements, training, management and career paths of prison officers
- Will create a new legal framework for prisons, strengthening the inspectorate and ombudsman to provide sharper external scrutiny
- Will establish a national community sentencing framework
- Will introduce dedicated provision for women offenders
- Will extend direct entry into the police, including at chief officer level
- Will widen the role of Police and Crime Commissioners, ensuring they sit on local health and wellbeing boards
- Will build on the Policing and Crime Act to provide greater devolution of criminal justice responsibility and budgets to local commissioners
- Will continue to modernise our courts, improving court buildings and facilities 'making it easier for people to resolve disputes and secure justice'.
The Green Party manifesto had not been published by the time this blog went to press – it should be available in due course here
- Will publish annual reports on prisoner-staff ratios, with a view to maintaining safety and ending overcrowding.
- Will recruit 3,000 more prison officers and review the training and professional development available.
- Will publish prison officer to prisoner ratios for all prisons.
- Will increase the recruitment and retention of both prison officers and probation officers through lifting public sector pay cap.
- Will insist on personal rehabilitation plans for all prisoners.
- Will review the provision of mental health services in prisons. Prison should always be a last resort - the state’s most severe sanction for serious offences. It should never be a substitute for failing mental health services, or the withdrawal of funding from drug treatment centres.
- No new private prisons and no public sector prisons will be privatised.
- Will incentivise local authorities, police forces and probation services to engage effectively with young people at risk of drifting into anti-social or criminal behaviours.
- Will embed restorative justice practices across all youth offending institutions.
- Will review the role of Community Rehabilitation Companies.
- Will resource BAME staff associations such as the National Black Police Association to increase ethnic diversity and BAME participation in the police
- Will replace Police and Crime Commissioners, elected at great expense in elections with very low turnout, with accountable Police Boards made up of local councillors
- Will introduce a presumption against short prison sentences and increase the use of tough, non-custodial punishments including weekend and evening custody, curfew, community service, and GPS tagging
- Will promote Community Justice Panels and restorative justice that brings victims and wrongdoers together to resolve conflict, reduce harm and encourage rehabilitation
- Will extend the responsibility of the Youth Justice Board to all offenders under 21, giving it the power to commission mental health services
- Will establish a Women’s Justice Board with a remit to meet the special needs of women offenders
- Will transform prisons into places of rehabilitation, recovery, learning, and work, with suitable treatment, education or work available to all prisoners; adopt a holistic approach to prisoners with multiple problems; ensure that courses started in custody can be completed on release
- Will ensure that trans prisoners are placed in prisons that reflect their gender identity, rather than their birth gender
- Will reduce the overrepresentation of individuals from a BAME background at every stage of the criminal justice system, taking into account the upcoming recommendations of the Lammy Review.
Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales
- Will secure an extra £25 million for Welsh police forces
- Decisions about crime and justice made in Wales, for Wales
- Will block the development of the Port Talbot prison - instead provide prison spaces for women and youth offenders in Wales
- Will create a Welsh legal jurisdiction.
United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)
The UKIP manifesto had not been published by the time this blog went to press – it should be available in due course here
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Without support in the community, stricter curfews and increased tagging are likely to cause more people breaching the terms of their licence and returning to a prison system that is underfunded and overcrowded. Latest blog on the sentencing white paper https://www.clinks.org/community/blog-posts/sentencing-white-paper-alte…