***RESULTS OF BALLOT***
Top Policy: David Hines (Operations Manager, National Victims’ Association) – An obligation by the State to recognise Homicide Victims’ needs
N0 2 Policy: Amanda Ramsay (Labour Uncut and Bristol South Labour Party development office) – Keeping social welfare legal aid in scope
Joint No 3 Policies:
Jessica Asato (Ambassador for Make Justice Work, Councillor for the London Borough of Islington and Vice-Chair of the Fabian Society) – Greater use of Intensive Alternatives to Custody Orders instead of short-term custodial sentences
Nick Goldberg (Labour Party activist) – Executive responsibility for drug policy should be handed to an independent panel of experts and professionals
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS AND THANKS TO ALL OUR SPEAKERS FOR PARTICIPATING.
DAVID HINES WILL NOW CONTRIBUTE AN ARTICLE ON HIS IDEA TO LABOUR UNCUT WHICH WILL FEATURE WITH ALL PREVIOUS WINNERS’ ARTICLES IN PRAGRAD’S FORTHCOMING PAMPHLET, TO BE PUBLISHED AT LABOUR CONFERENCE 2012.
90 second policy ideas, quick-fire questions and debate on the future of
Justice / Constitutional Reform
Chaired by Sadiq Khan MP, Shadow Justice Secretary
who has said of the event:
“I’m really looking forward to the next Top of the Policies Event on constitutional reform and justice issues. There’s so much going on in both these areas at the moment, but this is a real opportunity to float policy ideas and hear what others have to say. Who knows – the big ticket idea might just emerge out of Tuesday evening’s event!”
FORMAT OF EVENT
- 90 SECONDS PER SPEAKER TO PRESENT A POLICY IDEA (up to 20 speakers)
- 3 MINUTES Q&A PER POLICY
- ONE VOTE – ONE TOP POLICY ON JUSTICE/CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
WHEN? 7.00pm-9.00pm, TUESDAY 10 JULY
WHERE? Barley Mow Pub (upstairs restaurant), 104 Horseferry Road, Westminster, London, SW1P 2EE
FREE ENTRY – LABOUR MEMBERS/SUPPORTERS WELCOME – REFRESHMENTS PROVIDED
SPEAKERS: Short introductions from PragRad Chair, John Slinger; sponsors – Tom Jones from Thompsons Solicitors, and Dr. Nafeez Ahmed of Unitas Commnunications; and chair Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan MP.
YOUR CHANCE TO PARTICIPATE
To have the chance to present your 90 second policy idea on the on the night, please send it in the following format:
– Explanation (3 sentences max)
– How you wish to be referred to on the night (ie job title, organisation, etc)
Send to PragRad Chair, John Slinger firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the comment form below. @PragRad @JohnSlinger
POLICY IDEAS BEING PRESENTED
Greater use of Intensive Alternatives to Custody Orders instead of short-term custodial sentences: An IAC order is a comprehensive community based intervention which focuses on reducing the risk of reoffending. It is estimated that community sentences reduce reoffending by 13% compared with short custodial sentences, and providing IAC orders for all eligible young adult offenders instead of a custodial sentence would save £500 million over the next 5 years. Greater use of these orders would both help society by reducing reoffending as well as saving taxpayers money. Jessica Asato – Ambassador for Make Justice Work, Councillor for the London Borough of Islington and Vice-Chair of the Fabian Society (writing in a personal capacity).
Thinking big to tackle the big problem of crime related to mental health and substance misuse: We know that what people want is for the crime to stop. They don’t want it to happen to them or to their families, to their neighbours or their friends. And when it comes to reducing re-offending – particularly with offenders who have severe mental health or substance misuse problems – prison is not the place to do this. We need credible alternatives to custody which include; consistent assessment services; specialist treatment based on evidence of outcomes; secure, stable accommodation; electronic monitoring; and help to remove the barriers people face in moving on and putting their offending and associated problems behind them. And we need to do this on scale – not in small local pockets with small offender cohorts – the problem is big, the problem isn’t easy to solve but if we really want crime to stop then we need to go for big solutions. Graham Beech – Strategic Development Director, Nacro (the crime reduction charity).
Executive responsibility for drug policy should be handed to an independent panel of experts and professionals: Most politicians and all of the three main political parties do not want to be seen to be soft on drugs. I therefore propose setting up a fully independent inquiry into drug classifications and legislation, with a view to formulating a pragmatic and effective drug policy in the UK. This would take into account the different priorities of local and regional authorities, both council, probation and police, as regards enforcement practices, implementation timescales and the concerns of particular communities and residents. Such an approach would look to merge policy and operations, and allow for a more unified and efficient system, free from populist misunderstandings and misrepresentations. Nick Goldberg – Labour activist.
In England, justice is open to all – like the Ritz: English law is the envy of the world, but it comes at a price – our legal system is one of the world’s most expensive, and often fails to deliver justice for the poorest in society. Alternatives such as arbitration and mediation are rarely used, and the judiciary seems incapable to delivering cost-saving measures. A new Legal Aid Bill from a Labour government will reinstate lost legal aid, whilst capping costs.Cllr Mike Harris – Vice-Chair of Lewisham Council.
An obligation by the State to recognise Homicide Victims’ needs – David Hines, Operations Manager,National Victims’ Association.
Reverse burden on handling stolen goods, for those of bad character: Quite often, when my career criminal clients are caught in possession of stolen goods, they use that old chestnut: “I bought it off a man in a pub” and that’s enough to get them off, even when they have previous for dishonesty. The law is weighted on the side of the wrong-doer in this case. I propose that if a person has an unspent conviction for dishonesty, then it should be for the accused to prove their innocence, not for the prosecution to prove their guilt. Dan McCurry – Freelance Police Station Rep.
Empower, engage and enfranchise young people: Instead of seeing young people as ‘the problem’, let’s enable young people to be the solution by treating them as citizens and trusting them to provide leadership and positive role models for their own generation and younger children. The National Youth Bureau found the “Process of Enfranchisement” to be a series of incoherent and inconsistent landmarks in the rights and responsibilities garnered while growing up. Volunteering is ‘the essential act of citizenship’ so let’s nip things in the bud when things start to go wrong. But let’s also enable the good to drive out the band by engaging young people in leading local youth partnerships, giving them the vote at 14 and providing a compact to balance right and responsibilities in regard to education, training and employment. Rt. Hon. Alun Michael MP. Labour and Co-operative MP for Cardiff South and Penarth
Repeal the Extradition Act 2003: What can be worse then being locked up indefinitely without knowing the charges against you and the threat of extradition hanging over you. The least we should expect is British justice for British subjects. If Labour is to get its civil liberties credentials back, it needs to repeal the Extradition Act which permits this in the first place. Murad Qureshi AM – Labour Group, London Assembly.
Keeping social welfare legal aid in scope: Reinstate the Specialist Support Service, to help law centres and Citizen Advice Bureaux. This is in light of government’s action this June via the Legal Services Commission’s decision to scrap major service providing specialist welfare advice, weeks after 90,000 people were told their benefits would be cut. Amanda Ramsay, Labour Uncut and Bristol South Labour Party development officer.
Citizen Senators selected by lot instead of an elected Lords: Current plans for an elected second chamber will cause a constitutional clash with the Commons and will create another tier of party-controlled politicians. It is time to bring ‘we the people’ directly into our legislature, through Citizen Senators, who would be selected by lot as with jury selection, would receive training, would serve for 12 months and be required to relinquish party affiliation and act only in the public interest on the evidence before them. More details in my Financial Times letter here. John Slinger – Chair, Pragmatic Radicalism; Labour Party member; strategic communications consultant; occasional writer.
Remove all under-18s from the criminal justice system: All children who commit crimes, no matter how violent or sexual, should be treated as ‘children in need’, and the offence and consequences for the child adjudicated upon by Family Court judges, working alongside social workers and legal advisers, in exactly the same way as care proceedings are dealt with now. This would involve abolishing the Youth Courts and transferring responsibility for adjudicating upon crimes committed by children from magistrates over to the Family Courts, possibly with the involvement of the Safeguarding Children Boards and newly reconfigured Youth Offending Teams. Romin Sutherland – NextDoor Project Manager, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K).
Repeal of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012: My explanation is the Act itself, plus the existence of alternatives (cutting legal aid in restraint order cases; contingent legal aid funds; etc), and ultimately that effective access to justice is at the heart of a free democracy. Tom Tàbori – LSE.
A Federal future for the UK: Labour should argue for greater powers for English cities and regions, including increased powers to raise taxes and bonds, alongside enhanced devolution settlements for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Rather than inevitably breaking up the UK by seeking to resolve the west Lothian question by creating an English Parliament or excluding non-English members from Westminster votes, a federalism based upon increased powers for English cities and regions would allow the UK to remain united in diversity and grow more prosperous. This federal structure should also come to be reflected in the membership, purpose and structure of the second chamber, as debate about the second chamber will almost certainly be returned to over coming years. Jonathan Todd – Freelance Economist and columnist for Labour Uncut.
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