Justice and Home Affairs Policy Commission
Justice and Home Affairs Policy Commission

How do we rebuild the criminal justice system to prevent reoffending and provide real opportunities for rehabilitation?

Policy Commission: Justice and Home Affairs


Policy Areas: The Justice and Home Affairs Policy Commission examines Labour thinking on issues such as policing, the justice system, immigration and asylum, and political and constitutional reform.


Basingstoke Issues:

Crime, Police numbers

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Building an effective criminal justice system


Labour believes that an effective criminal justice system is one which has prevention and early intervention at its heart, which addresses the underlying causes of offending, and which gives people the best chance of rehabilitation. At present, however, the system is under strain at every level.


A prompt, holistic approach to tackling the development of criminality at an early stage requires input from a wide range of agencies, from the police and other criminal justice stakeholders to schools, local authorities, health services, and beyond. However, the ability of these bodies to effect early, cross-cutting interventions has been undermined by the pressure on resources brought about by over eight years of central government funding reductions.


A fair, effective, and efficient criminal court system must provide a rational and consistent sentencing framework which seeks to appropriately punish those who have broken the law, but which also addresses the underlying drivers of offending behaviour so people have a real chance of turning their lives around. Currently, however, a lack of confidence by the courts in the efficacy of non-custodial sentences has seen their use dwindle. Instead, a growing number of non-violent offenders are being incarcerated on very short sentences in conditions which not only undermine the chances of rehabilitation, but can actually increase the likelihood of reoffending.

Key Questions:

  • How can public services work better together to identify those at risk of offending?

  • What should be the core response of each public service when a young person is at risk of offending, or has offended?

  • How can courts work more closely with local authorities, health service, probation providers and other public bodies, as well as the third sector, to address underlying behaviour?

  • How should the criminal justice system work with other public bodies to ensure people convicted of low-level offences are not dragged into a cycle of reoffending?


Full details: Building an effective criminal justice system

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Consultation End Date: 30th June 2019

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