Please note not all views expressed in the film and on the blog necessarily reflect the views of coalition members.
The self-fulfilling prophesy that's doubled our prison population,
demonised our young and costs us billions...
Welcome to the Fear Factory

Monday 15 February 2010

Make Justice Work

As we move into the party political gamesmanship which inevitably comes with a general election, criminal justice yet again will be used as a political football. Despite what politicians say behind closed doors - that is, in general they would agree with most of us who say we are locking up too many low level offenders and it is costing too much - I doubt they will see any votes in saying any of that in public. Yet it was interesting hearing Alan Duncan at the Clinks AGM recently talk of tackling "corrosive headlines" and the lack of cross party consensus in criminal justice - the two very real enemies in our battle to create a sensible criminal justice system. Perhaps we can all help him to tackle these corrosive headlines so that we can begin to breakdown the negative backlash caused by some of the ludicrous headlines which then hinder our ability to put in place real and lasting crime solutions.

Make Justice Work is a new media campaign focused on improving the public's understanding of the huge cost and ineffectiveness involved in locking up low level offenders for short sentences and the benefits of good community sentences which can reduce offending as well as addressing the reasons behind that offending. But critically the public will only be convinced if we can show them what works in the community.

I have just spent the most amazing two days with Youth at Risk, not only observing the experiences of the young people on their programme but also going through some of the processes ourselves. It has been one of the most rigorous experiences I have had in a long time and I defy anyone to suggest that addressing entrenched behaviours and attitudes is easy or unchallenging I have no doubt that most of them would have preferred a few weeks in prison. But sharing just a small part of these young people's transformation was a real wake-up call for those of us touching their experience. We all knew about Youth at Risk and the great work they do - but classically, seeing is believing.

There is so much good going on in our society around supporting young people like those at Youth at Risk. We really should be making sure that those outside the sector get a glimpse into this world. Only then will people's eyes be opened to the possibilities and opportunities available to young people by such programmes in the community.

Roma Hooper
Make Justice Work

No comments:

Post a Comment