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Unlocking Children

Rob Allen / April 18, 2019 at 12:42 PM 107 views

There are two strong reports out today arguing for radical change to the use and practice of custody for children in England and Wales. The End Child Imprisonment Campaign (ECI) has called for the immediate closure of Young Offender Institutions…

Deja Vu All Over Again

Rob Allen / April 5, 2019 at 5:41 PM 141 views

The Justice Committee has produced a compelling report arguing that criminal justice is facing a crisis of sustainability, that prison is a relatively ineffective way of reducing crime and that the government should commit to a significant reduction of the…

Six Months to Go

Rob Allen / January 12, 2019 at 9:43 PM 199 views

Last January, confronted with the disgusting conditions at HMP Liverpool, Prisons Minister Rory Stewart told MPs that the neglect of basics in prisons had resulted from too much talk “about grand issues of sentencing policy, reoffending and the policy context”.  A…

The Parole Board’s Day in Court

Rob Allen / February 7, 2018 at 6:24 AM 262 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 945 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 950 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 1,026 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 877 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 612 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 906 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 979 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 1,051 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 991 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 1,058 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 651 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 683 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…