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Come What May

Rob Allen / May 18, 2017 at 5:31 PM 160 views

In February,Theresa May quipped that when she was at the Home Office she used to say of Justice Secretary Ken Clarke “I locked ’em up and he let ’em out”.  Fears of a tougher approach to criminal policy in the…

Liberal Order

Rob Allen / May 17, 2017 at 7:52 PM 232 views

One of many recent disappointments for prison reformers was how little the Liberal Democrats were able to influence criminal justice policy during their time in government. Almost none of their 2010 manifesto pledges on justice – such as a presumption…

More Hard Labour?

Rob Allen / May 17, 2017 at 7:22 AM 267 views

In the midst of Jeremy Corbyn’s radical plans to transform Britain, it’s perhaps surprising to learn that Labour is still “tough on crime and the causes of crime”. That most Blairite of slogans- albeit one thought up by Gordon Brown-…

Manifesto Destiny. Criminal Justice Ideas for the 2017 Election

Rob Allen / May 3, 2017 at 4:15 PM 163 views

Chances are we won’t get much about criminal justice in any of the manifestos. But Labour’s surprisingly Blairite promise of 10,000 more police officers suggests that domestic policy may not be entirely absent from the parties’ offerings to the electorate.  It’s…

Council of Despair?

Rob Allen / December 12, 2016 at 6:00 AM 364 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 382 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 420 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 398 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 201 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 457 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 468 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 555 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 363 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 480 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…

The Invisible Transformation

Rob Allen / April 28, 2016 at 8:34 PM 287 views

Back in January 2013, then Justice Secretary Chris Grayling was admirably clear about what he expected his “revolution in the way we manage offenders to achieve”. "My vision is very simple", he wrote . "When someone leaves prison, I want…

A Tale of Two Murders

Rob Allen / April 8, 2016 at 11:08 AM 276 views

When two boys were convicted of the horrific murder of James Bulger in November 1993, I was working in the Home Office on secondment from NACRO. My job in the Criminal Policy Department was to advise Ministers about juvenile justice…