Re-wiring punishment and rehabilitation

In 2015, Crest Advisory was commissioned by the Hadley Trust to begin work on the development of an alternative vision of the criminal justice system – one that was more intelligent, more efficient and ultimately, more humane.

In June this year we published ‘Community sentences: where did it all go wrong?’ – a year-long research project which explored the decade-long drop in the use of community sentences and recommended policy changes to strengthen sentencers’ confidence in such sentences.

But community sentences are only one aspect of how we prevent crime and rehabilitate offenders; if we want to build a safer society we need to look at the whole system, so now we are. We are seeking to answer the question “how could our system of punishment and rehabilitation be re-wired to deliver better outcomes for individuals, communities and wider society?” It is a big challenge but an exhilarating one too.

As part of this research, we will be exploring the lessons to be learned from international best practice. While no criminal justice system is perfect, and comparisons can be difficult to draw when it comes to something as complex and multifaceted as criminal justice, we want to try and understand which countries have been successful in preventing crime and rehabilitating offenders.

To that end, Crest Advisory’s research team will be visiting the Netherlands and Scotland in early Autumn, hoping to learn from specific instances of innovation and/ or alternative approaches that could be impactful on our own shores; Dutch use of electronic tagging and in-prison rehabilitation and Scotland’s wide reaching justice reforms.

We will also be trying to learn from best practice locally, drawing on examples of locally-led reforms, which are demonstrating an ability to improve outcomes. We will be talking to police and crime commissioners, chief constables, prison governors, magistrates, offender managers, prosecutors, victims, witnesses and offenders, policymakers, academics and think-tanks.

If you have been involved in, or know of exciting projects here, in Scotland or in the Netherlands and would like to share some of the lessons with us, we’d love to hear from you. Please do get in touch below.

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