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Spurr’s Relegated

Rob Allen / September 22, 2018 at 1:46 PM 95 views

   A few years ago, I attended a leaving do for a NOMS official with whom I’d worked closely. Michael Spurr paused his generous speech a couple of times as he wanted to be kept updated about a hostage taking…

State of Emergency

Rob Allen / September 14, 2018 at 6:50 PM 153 views

Should we think of prison officers as emergency workers? This week’s new law creating tougher penalties for assaults on such workers certainly does so. The categorisation seemed a bit odd to me- what about probation staff or youth workers who…

Young Adults in Custody- Time for Some Better Options

Rob Allen / September 7, 2018 at 9:57 PM 122 views

Recent years have seen a growing and welcome recognition of the need for a distinctive approach to young adults in conflict with the law. In January, the Lord Chief Justice, noting that “full maturity and all the attributes of adulthood…

Taking Stock: More Local Control of Probation ?

Rob Allen / August 30, 2018 at 10:25 AM 101 views

Among its wonderful wealth of exhibits, Oxford’s Pitt-Rivers Museum includes a set of village stocks, originally placed on the footpath in College Lane Littlemore in March 1857. They were made especially for the punishment of a man sentenced by local…

The Parole Board’s Day in Court

Rob Allen / February 7, 2018 at 6:24 AM 173 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 800 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 803 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 856 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 738 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 490 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 785 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 857 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 917 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 875 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 911 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 568 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 553 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…