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Justice reinvestment: empty slogan or sustainable future for penal policy?

Rob Allen
01 Feb 2014

The most effective means of reducing offending lie outside the remit of the justice system. Entrenched offenders need stable housing, good family relationships, employment and good healthcare to turn their lives around. Yet people who have been in contact with the criminal justice system struggle to gain access to services and to the job market. There are few incentives for those providing services outside the criminal justice system to prioritise the needs of people in, and leaving, the criminal justice system. A young person coming out of prison needing housing is often seen as trouble, and excluded by providers. Meanwhile millions are spent on court costs, police enforcement and prisons.

How can we incentivise public services to help rehabilitate people who have been in prison, when money is already so tight?

One idea which has received attention in England and Wales in recent years is called justice reinvestment. This involves reform of the way criminal justice is paid for, to reward those involved in reducing imprisonment and offending.

This report by Rob Allen outlines why justice reinvestment represents one of the most promising ideas for reducing crime and imprisonment. It sets out the three core components of justice reinvestment along with practical steps for introducing it in England and Wales.