Punishment and Reform

December 1, 2011

‘Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ was more than a clever soundbite; it was a successful approach to criminal justice policy that left crime 43 per cent lower when Labour departed office than when it entered. The challenge now is to build on this legacy and further reduce crime, but within the tough spending constraints imposed by straitened times.

To inform the conclusions of the Labour Party policy review, Sadiq Khan MP brings together a group of experts from across the criminal justice field to investigate reform. Their essays do not represent Labour Party policy, but are suggestions and inspiration from some of the most respected figures in the area. The authors think creatively about how to get the balance right between deterrent, punishment and rehabilitation and how to create a criminal justice system that lowers crime and protects communities whilst breaking the cycle of re-offending.

One aspect that is often overlooked is the experience of the victim. Victims should be at the heart of our criminal justice system, not only because they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, but also because their co-operation and trust is vital for it to function effectively and bring offenders to justice. But victims are often treated as mere bystanders as their cases proceed through the courts. This needs to change.

In Punishment and Reform: How our justice system can help cut crime, Lord Victor Adebowale, Baroness Jean Corston, Shauneen Lambe, Paul McDowell, Kevin McGrath, Barry Mizen, Dame Helen Reeves, Professor Robert Reiner, Professor Julian V Roberts, Matthew Ryder QC, Lord Norman Warner and Phil Wheatley CB consider what changes could be made to support victims and ensure justice is served more effectively in our country.

You can buy a printed copy edition of Punishment and Reform: How our justice system can help cut crime for £9.95, plus £1 p+p, by phoning the Fabian Society bookshop on 020 7227 4900, emailing us at bookshop@fabian-society.org.uk or send a cheque payable to “The Fabian Society” to 11 Dartmouth Street, London, SW1H 9BN.

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