'After giving prisons a blank check for three decades, many conservative leaders are applying their natural scepticism of large government institutions to the criminal justice system ... If our prison policies fail half of the time, and we know that there are more humane, effective alternatives, then it is time to fundamentally rethink how we treat and rehabilitate our prisoners. We can no longer afford a business-as-usual approach to prisons.'
Pat Nolan, director, Justice Fellowship
Writing on behalf of the American right, Pat Nolan lays out the 'conservative principles' for justice reform, focused on producing better outcomes both for the offender (especially vulnerable and/or minor offenders) and for the community:
- Reserve costly prison space for dangerous offenders
- Focus on reducing future harm
- Fill each inmate's day with productive activities
- Facilitate victim-offender dialogue
- Match offenders with mentors
- Provide opportunities for community service and reparation
- Punish parole violations immediately
- Coordinate re-entry supervision and services.
In response, Labour MP Sadiq Khan sets out his priorities for justice reform, which reflect and reinforce many of the arguments made in Pat Nolan's essay.
- First, we need a more tailored approach to dealing with offenders. For example, instead of abolishing the Youth Justice Board, we should be seeking to emulate its success.
- Second, we need a system of swift and proportionate punishment that nips antisocial behaviour in the bud and prevents problems from escalating.
- Third, we need to prioritise rehabilitation as the next step in bringing down crime rates even further and delivering a more efficient criminal justice system.
Snakes and ladders: Tackling precarity in social security and employment supportAcross the country, people are trying to make ends meet, build financial security and pursue their aspirations. But, in a vicious cycle of snakes and ladders, many are being pulled down into poverty.
Making markets: The City's role in industrial strategyTo tackle climate change, we need a significant increase in public and private capital investment.
Broken hearted: A spotlight paper on cardiovascular diseaseProgress on cardiovascular disease was a significant driver of better health and prosperity in the latter half of the 20th century, however progress has recently stalled – with indications it may be in reverse.