Rewiring justice

in partnership with the Hadley Trust

In March, Crest Advisory published an interim report presenting the first part of their Rewiring Justice project, in partnership with the Hadley Trust. The report concluded that the stale debate that has characterised justice for decades between those in favour of a more liberal/welfare-oriented justice system (focused on rehabilitation) and those in favour of a more punitive system (emphasising punishment) needs rethinking, and that our current system delivers neither.

The overall aim of Crest’s Rewiring Justice project is to lay the groundwork for an alternative vision of the criminal justice system – one that is more intelligent, efficient and ultimately humane. Crest’s proposed system balances punishment and rehabilitation, and is underpinned by three core principles:

  1. Devolving power to shift money upstream
  2. Integrating services around service users
  3. Deepening relationships with professionals

What are we doing?

The project is split broadly into four stages. The first two stages are complete, and involved mapping the current sentencing/diversionary landscape, and exploring the principles underlying reform. These were presented in an interim report and focus piece – read our findings here.

Following this, the third and fourth stage of the project will be to capture innovation through a series of field visits, and to prepare a proposed re-design of the criminal justice system.

The final report setting out a new vision and direction for punishment and rehabilitation will be published in the coming months.

Next steps

The next phase of the project will be to examine and set out how our system of punishment and rehabilitation could be re-wired to deliver better outcomes – keeping people safe and rehabilitating offenders, whilst securing public confidence.

The next steps of the project will be to:

  • Undertake a series of field visits to look at the best examples of innovation domestically and internationally
  • Engage with victim services/NGOs, and service users/offenders
  • Summarise the evidence base i.e. what works, what doesn’t work

We will be exploring a series of bold but achievable policy options for:

  • Out of court disposals
  • The current system of fines including a more sophisticated system of asset confiscation
  • Re-designing community sentences, including options for more sentences to be tailored to the offender/ offence and more intensive unpaid work
  • Expanding the use of GPS tagging technology and new intermediate measures to restrict liberty (e.g. secure locations)
  • Reforming custodial sentences
  • Managing the most prolific offenders

Given the Justice Select Committee’s recent criticism of attempted criminal justice system reforms, and its demand for a review which looks at alternative systems, Crest’s proposal for a bold but achievable new model will be timely.

Watch out for the final report on this project in the summer, which will also quantify the costs and impact of the proposed alternative approaches.

Get involved

We believe that reforms to the criminal justice system over the past 25 years have been based on flawed assumptions about how to change offenders’ behaviour, and have favoured processing people through the system over transforming lives. This project seeks to identify a new model for justice which balances punishment and rehabilitation.

If you have insight to share, please a member of the project team, or leave a comment on the Crest blog.

The Hadley Trust’s aims to creating opportunities for people who are disadvantaged as a result of environmental, educational or economic circumstances, or physical or other handicap, to improve their situation, either by direct financial assistance, involvement in project and support work or research into the causes of, and means to alleviate, hardship.



Crest are an independent criminal justice and policing-focused consultancy. Crest have worked for more than half of British police forces, as well as the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, to analyse, develop and communicate the strategies and insights needed to help build safer communities.


About us:

Harvey Redgrave

Harvey Redgrave

Managing Director

Harvey Redgrave is Managing Director at Crest Advisory. Previously, Harvey worked as a senior policy advisor at the Labour Party and was a deputy director at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.

Sarah Kincaid

Sarah Kincaid

Head of Strategy & Insight

Sarah is a highly experienced policy professional, with 20 years of experience working in Whitehall, arms-length bodies and the voluntary sector.

Faerlie Wilson

Faerlie Wilson

Senior Analyst

Faerlie Wilson is a Senior Analyst at Crest. Before joining Crest, Faerlie taught strategy, policy, and critical analysis to senior military officers from the UK and abroad. She has lived and worked in the Middle East, Europe, and North America, and brings a global perspective to her work at Crest.

Manon Roberts

Manon Roberts

Policy & Research Analyst

Manon Roberts is a Policy & Research Analyst at Crest. Previous prison-based experience in family work and substance misuse means Manon has seen first-hand the effects of criminal justice policy reforms on service users and their families. She is passionate about engaging service users and gaining their perspectives to inform recommendations for positive change.

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