ICPR's latest book 'Inside Crown Court' is published

Research conducted by Jessica Jacobson, Gillian Hunter and Amy Kirby at the Institute for Policy Research (ICPR) at Birkbeck, University of London has found that appearing in the Crown Court - as a victim, witness or defendant - is often frightening, frustrating and upsetting for participants. The study provides a vivid description of what it is like to attend Crown Court, be it as a victim, defendant, witness, member of staff, judge or barrister. It outlines the interplay between the various participants and extent to which the court process is viewed as legitimate by those involved in it. The book will be launched this evening in the Royal Courts of Justice.


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Review of advocacy in youth proceedings

The Institute for Criminal Policy Research has been commissioned by the Bar Standards Board, in association with Illex Professional Standards, to conduct a research review of the components of effective advocacy in youth proceedings. The research will explore what knowledge, skills and attributes are required by advocates in youth proceedings to work effectively with defendants and witnesses and assess the extent to which advocates possess these knowledge, skills and attributes.

Dr Jessica Jacobson, Co-Director of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, said: 'We are delighted to be conducting this important project on behalf of the Bar Standards Board and Ilex Professional Standards. Little systematic research has been conducted to date on the components of effective advocacy in youth proceedings. This project will help to fill this large knowledge gap with the aim of informing real and sustainable improvements in practice.'

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Is volunteering for everyone? Volunteering opportunities for young adults with offending historties.

The Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR) in partnership with the Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR) have recently concluded a Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Barrow Cadbury Trust funded study of volunteering opportunities for young adults with criminal convictions. As part of the study, a series of briefing papers has been produced to promote volunteering, bust myths and help to address some of the barriers to volunteering opportunities for young adults with offending histories. There are three separate electronic briefings aimed at: young adults; volunteer-involving organisations; and resettlement organisations. There is also a number of printed copies of the young adults briefing available; if you would like to obtain any printed copies, please contact Amy Kirby.

The briefings can be accessed using the following links:

Young adults briefing

Volunteer-involving organisations

Resettlement organisations

Young Criminologist Award 2014 - Dr Mai Sato

Dr Mai Sato has been awarded the Young Criminologist Award 2014 for her book 'The Death Penalty in Japan: Will the Public Tolerate Abolition?' The award ceremony took place on 18 October 2014 at the 41st Japanese Association of Sociological Criminology Conference in Kyoto. Read more.

Justice that kills - the death penalty in the 21st century (09/10/2014)

"Instead of measuring support for the death penalty, we should measure public tolerance and acceptance of abolition. If the public views an abolition of the death penalty as legitimate it can be done with appropriate leadership."

Dr Mai Sato, speaking at the Delegation to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva, October 2014.   Read more.

The death penalty and procedural guarantees in Japan

Dr Mai Sato in collaboration with Dr Paul Bacon (University of Japan) has been awarded multi-agency funding (EU, German Embassy, UK Embassy, and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office) to conduct a survey and a deliberative poll on the death penalty and procedural guarantees in Japan. The project will run from June 2014 - August 2015.

Howard League 'What is Justice?' working papers

The Howard League for Penal Reform has launched a series of working papersbased on conference presentations from contributors at the Howard League's 'What is Justice? Re-imagining penal policy' conference. Researchers at ICPR have co-authored three of the papers:

Amy KirbyJessica Jacobson and Gillian Hunter present the findings of a 20 month Economic and Social Research Council funded study into the public's experiences of the Crown Court. A key finding of the research - and the focus of the paper - was the apparent limits of defendants' 'effective participation' at court.  Read more.

Polly Radcliffe and Gillian Hunter discuss the development of Women's Community Services (WCSs) and explore themes emerging from interviews with 30 women attending six WCUs between April 2011 and April 2012.  Read more.

Penelope Gibbs and Amy Kirby discuss the diversity of lay magistrates in England and Wales and question the representativeness of lay magistrates in their locality by analysing existing evidence on the lay magistracy's composition and linking that to trends in the recruitment of magistrates.  Read more.

Youth courts failing children, finds parliamentarians' inquiry

A report published today by a cross party group of MPs and peers, calls for urgent reforms to the youth justice system following an in depth inquiry which found systemic failings and an inability to prevent youth offending. The inquiry by Lord Carlile CBE QC was launched amid growing concerns that the criminal and youth courts do not, in their current form, effectively fulfill their principal aims of preventing youth reoffending and having adequate regard to the welfare of the child. The report was prepared and drafted by ICPR's Ali Wigzell.

The report has been covered by:

BBC News

BBC Breakfast

BBC Radio 4 (53 minutes in)

BBC London radio

LBC Radio

ITV Lunchtime news

The Guardian

The Independent

The Times

The Telegraph

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ICPR briefings published on The Advocate's Gateway

Two ICPR briefings, based on the findings of our recent ESRC-funded research on the Crown Court, have been published on The Advocate's Gateway website. 'Supporting Fair and Respectful Treatment of Witnesses' provides advocates and other court-based professionals with insight into what it is like to attend a criminal court as a witness, and what it means - from the witness's perspective - to be treated well or, conversely, treated poorly. 'Supporting the Effective Participation of Defendants at Court' identifies some of the main barriers to defendants' effective participation in the court process, and considers how advocates and other legal professionals can help to overcome these barriers.

Read more - witness briefing.

Read more - defendant briefing.

Research into community justice

ICPR's recently published report, 'Crime and "community"', presents the findings of research into the concept and application of 'community justice.' The research - which was generously funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation - entailed a policy review, a review of existing data on civic particpation, and empirical research on community activism in four deprived neighbourhoods. Drawing on the findings of this research, the report looks at how central government views the role of local communities in tackling crime and disorder; how members of local communities view their own role in tackling crime and disorder; and the extent to which government aspirations for 'community justice' have resonance for the general public. The report's major conclusion is that 'community justice' is a worthwhile policy aspiration, if this is largely conceived as a matter of nurturing community spirit and concomitant informal social control - but the goal of promoting local communities' active involvement in the design or delivery of criminal justice services is much more difficult to achieve.

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PhD Success

In March 2014 Dr Tim McSweeney was awarded his PhD - without amendments - by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia. The thesis used comparative case studies in order to examine the processes and impacts in Australia and England of attempts to divert criminally involved drug misusers to treatment.

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Book Launch at the House of Lords

On 13th January 2014 The All Party Parliamentary Group on the Abolition of the Death Penalty launched Dr Mai Sato's recently published book, 'The Death Penalty in Japan: Will the public tolerate abolition?'

The book examines factors underlining the presumed support for the death penalty, offering a critique of the Japanese Government Survey and the impact of information and deliberation on people's understanding of, and attitudes towards, the death penalty.

The event was hosted by Baroness Vivien Stern and speakers included Professor Carolyn Hoyle (Director, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford) and Dr Mai Sato, who gave a brief synopsis of the book.

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