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A Fresh Crackdown on Crime in Prison- if Only

Rob Allen / July 11, 2018 at 4:24 PM 99 views

Many of the great and the good of the prison reform world gathered yesterday morning at Church House to hear Justice Secretary David Gauke ’s second major speech on prison reform in six months.  His words were well enough received…

Questions of Sentencing

Rob Allen / July 8, 2018 at 7:03 PM 81 views

An appearance this week in Parliament for the Chair of the Sentencing Council, who’s up before the Justice Committee as part of its inquiry into the prison population.  The Committee is always consulted about draft sentencing guidelines and has often…

Population Explosion?

Rob Allen / July 3, 2018 at 7:15 AM 94 views

England and Wales has the highest rate of imprisonment in Western Europe.  Its 83,000 prisoners represent 141 per 100,000 of the general population. By comparison, the rate in France is 102, Germany 78, and the Netherlands 59. Last week the…

Healthy Prisons – A Contradiction in Terms?

Rob Allen / June 29, 2018 at 11:53 AM 132 views

Finally published today is the report of an investigation I’ve undertaken into the life-threatening attempted suicide of a remand prisoner at HMP Brixton. Since the disastrous incident in 2010, AC (I can’t use his real name) has been in a…

Questions for the Minister

Rob Allen / June 26, 2018 at 7:22 AM 94 views

I don’t know if its still the case, but people appearing before Parliamentary Select Committees used to get a friendly phone call a few days in advance telling them the likely lines of questioning. Nothing is put in writing and…

The Parole Board’s Day in Court

Rob Allen / February 7, 2018 at 6:24 AM 137 views

A big day for the Parole Board in the High Court and in Parliament . Judges will decide whether there is a case for a judicial review of the Board’s decision to release John Worboys while the Justice Committee holds…

Council of Despair?

Rob Allen / December 12, 2016 at 6:00 AM 741 views

How can we reduce the number of prisoners in England and Wales?    The government’s view seems to be that the 86,000 men women and children behind bars “is the result of the sentencing approach taken by successive Governments of different…

Why we need more short prison sentences not fewer

Rob Allen / October 31, 2016 at 6:48 AM 740 views

Yesterday’s Observer rightly called for sentencing reform in order to solve the deepening crisis in the prisons in England and Wales. But as so often their proposals do not go nearly far enough. Their solution is to reduce the number…

Where are we now on Prison Reform?

Rob Allen / October 4, 2016 at 5:24 PM 797 views

I couldn’t follow Liz Truss’s speech to the Tory Conference this morning as I was visiting a prison where I’m doing a piece of work. When I arrived there, I was told the Governors were all in a debrief after…

Don’t Despair on Prison Reform …Just Yet

Rob Allen / September 7, 2016 at 12:02 PM 679 views

On 19th July, five days after her appointment, Justice Secretary Liz Truss said she was clear that the vital work of prison reform will continue "at pace". Seven weeks in, the Guardian’s take on her evidence to the Justice Committee…

From YJB to RJB?

Rob Allen / September 2, 2016 at 4:22 PM 431 views

This week's’ Justice Committee report on Restorative Justice (RJ) has a familiar ring to it. It’s positive about the impact which RJ can have both on people who suffer from criminal harm and those who cause it. It’s cautiously optimistic…

Reflections on Prison Overcrowding

Rob Allen / August 17, 2016 at 4:30 PM 748 views

How best to eliminate the scourge of overcrowding in the world’s prisons? Two countries much in the news are promising different solutions with Turkey planning to release 38,000 "ordinary" criminals (if only to make room for alleged coup plotters) and…

Contemporary Dilemmas in Criminal Justice

Rob Allen / June 5, 2016 at 5:17 PM 804 views

Did you know that in the early 19th century, an ancestor of former Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP was transported to Botany Bay (for a theft he probably didn’t commit), where through hard work and enterprise he started to accumulate…

The Problem with Problem Solving Justice

Rob Allen / May 19, 2016 at 6:21 AM 858 views

Last night former Chief Judge of New York Jonathan Lippman extolled the virtues of problem solving justice to a distinguished audience at the Royal Courts of Justice. In a lecture hosted by the Centre for Justice Innovation, Lippman explained how…

Reform Prisons – An Elephant Giving Birth to a Mouse?

Rob Allen / May 18, 2016 at 10:15 AM 757 views

Fifteen years ago, Michael Gove jointly edited A Blue Tomorrow- a collection of essays subtitled New Visions for Modern Conservatives.  In the foreword, the editors attacked Tony Blair’s Labour government (freshly re- elected in a second landslide) for seeing “the…

Sentencing Remarks

Rob Allen / May 10, 2016 at 8:26 AM 837 views

   A fortnight ago, Prisons Minister Andrew Selous told the Justice Committee that "work on sentencing is ongoing this year, in terms of a consultation to which the Ministry of Justice has committed". Yesterday, in the course of answering an urgent question…