Recognising that the poorest and most vulnerable are disproportionately more likely to find themselves in touch with our criminal justice system, the CSJ created a new policy unit for Criminal Justice in 2017.
When we consider the social characteristics of those passing through our criminal justice system against those of the general population, the levels of disadvantage and trauma are stark. It is also the case that our most vulnerable members of society are often most susceptible to the impact of crime.
The Criminal Justice Unit at the CSJ wishes to see a reduction in crime on our streets and a fair, effective and humane justice system which prioritises the rehabilitation of those passing through its gates. It is only by creating a just society where crime rates are low and the public feel confident about their safety, that community cohesion and pride in local neighbourhoods can flourish.
With record delays in our court system, the needs of victims have never felt more acute. We must not lose focus on the moral duty we have to ensure victims receive their day in court in a timely manner and are supported through what is all too often a traumatising and protracted process.
The rehabilitation of offenders needs to be at the heart of an effective justice system. Only through embedding a rehabilitative and trauma-informed culture throughout the system, can the root causes of offending be tackled.
England and Wales has one of the highest custody rates in western Europe, and with a prison population set to increase to 98,000 by 2026, a bold, new response to crime is needed. It is vital that resources are prioritised upstream before prison ever becomes part of the equation at all.