Lessons from the slow-motion collapse of the criminal justice system
No Sam - this post isn't already too long. You have set out a significant and complex problem with many of the interactions and challenges. If some of the political changes hadn't taken place, Osborne austerity, Grayling Justice Secretary and the removal of Rory Stewart the situation might be better. But as you conclude there is little to look forward to, unless Yvette Cooper does a massive reverse ferret and Rachel Reeves gives her the means to do it.
Your posts and your father's are invariably excellent, thought provoking and exceptional value. Keep it up.
Unhappily slow motion collapses appear to be a feature of life in the UK these days. To extend the metaphor slightly, if a large chunk falls but misses you, you notice but it both seems like you have avoided immediate harm (true) and that the danger is over (true but only in a very limited, personal and time-bound sense). Then comes normalisation and acceptance. Thus are we ground down. Very good piece, thank you - it made me wake up slightly to our collective plight.
This is one of the most depressing pieces I‘ve read in a long time, mostly because your conclusions are that the problems are insoluble. From a realistic point of view, naturally. In a utopian world, Sunak would have taken on the nutjobs in his party, and Starmer and his team would be preparing the country for the reality of the Herculean task facing the new labour government. Instead, Sunak has performed worse than BJ, and Starmer and his team seem to be frightened of their own shadows. Don‘t they realise that they have a short period of time in which the electorate will accept that labour have been given the ultimate hospital pass, and support almost any measures, after which the pile of effluent that they have inherited will become theirs?
Excellent post Sam and as an ex-probation officer, retired prison governor and now a magistrate I unfortunately totally agree with all your analyse. As with the NHS, we as a nation need to have an adult conversation about what we want the police to realistically deliver on, and what punishment and rehabilitation actually looks like. We can and should learn from successes in other jurisdictions and it is possible to have a justice system that knows what it is there for and doesn't have to endure the flip flopping of policy with every new Justice Secretary (10 in 10 years!). But it does required political courage and that is very thin on the ground even in the very much anticipated shiny new Labour government!
Very interesting article. The financing of local government is also on the brink, and with that, social services. It’s almost as if we have a scorched earth policy for some public services. George Osborne and David Cameron have a lot to answer for, but of course they are well clear of the mess now.
The tabloid press, with the ‘lock em up and throw away the key’ mentality doesn’t help, and the opposition are afraid of them.
Sensible countries with a grown up attitude to policy, have sensible voting systems and government by a coalition of majority opinion, not dogma from a party with absolute power on 40% of the vote.
Old enough to remember Blunkett and his dogmatic approach. Both main parties need reining in
Appreciate a lot of effort went into this post Sam but lordy how depressing. Difficult not to swear about the disgrace of thirteen years of Tory incompetence we've been subjected to. Thanks at least for the badger line though! You have to laugh or you'd cry.
This is a masterful, if depressing, summary of the state of the criminal justice system. Thanks as ever for putting the time in to explain it so well. I'm curious about one thing you touch on: the higher crime rates (reported at least) in the mid-90s. I've seen this referenced elsewhere too and it leaves me wondering why crimes such as burglary and violent crimes were higher then than since. In some ways it was a more benign period, economically and socially, so what was going on? Do you have any likely explanations?
Really good piece Sam but as others have said very depressing. Totally agree, we need as a country politicians who are able to hold a adult conversation on this issue.
Off topic, but to those who are cheering for Ukraine, I recommend the following two excellent articles which I accessed without a paywall.
A retired US Army General Who was involved in combined arms training wrote this:
Frederick Kagan wrote this broad overview of the counteroffensive:
Great piece, thanks.
Reminds us how much damage the "grown ups" did with austerity, well before they ceded ground to the head-bangers of Brexit.
I wonder what that George Osborne is up to these days? What's that, a podcast with a ballroom dancer, you say? Golly, beats wallpaper I guess...