A quick round-up of some stories around criminal justice, sentencing, probation and how students with convictions are handled.

Many of these stories come via Clinks, which produces a weekly newsletter and topical information bulletins, if you are especially interested in this area.


Mental distress and the criminal justice system

For World Mental Health Day 2019, Together for Mental Wellbeing  produced a series of films on mental distress and the criminal justice system. The films show the varied and multifaceted reasons people can become involved with the criminal justice system and what can be learnt from their experiences, which include conditions ranging from depression and drug and alcohol dependencies to trauma, and experiences of psychosis.

Find out more on the Together UK website.


Sentencing mothers: statutory duty on children’s welfare

In its recent report Right to family life: Children whose mothers are in prison, the Joint Committee on Human Rights calls for a new statutory duty requiring children’s welfare to “be at the forefront of the judge’s mind” when sentencing. The report claims that the failure of courts to properly consider the consequences for children when sending women to prison is causing irreparable harm to tens of thousands of children. The committee also recommends that a primary carer of a child must not sentenced without a pre-sentence report available at the sentencing hearing. Other recommendations are made to help improve data collection and pregnancy and maternity services for women in contact with the criminal justice system.


Probation accommodation consultation

HM Inspectorate of Probation is collecting evidence for its thematic inspection on the provision of accommodation services. It is keen to hear from accommodation providers about the barriers probation service users face in finding, securing and maintaining settled and suitable accommodation. It is also keen to receive examples of effective practice in the provision of accommodation services. Clinks are responding to the consultation. Please contact Nicola.Drinkwater@clinks.org if you would like to directly feed into our submission. We are particularly interested in examples of good practice. Submissions must be made by Friday 13th December.

Find out more here


Mapping of women’s services to promote community sentences

 Women in Prison (WIP) is currently building a national database to map the network of women’s centres and other community-based support services that provide an alternative to imprisonment. The end users for the database are magistrates, pre-sentence report writers, probation and the police.

The aim is to raise awareness of alternatives to custody and to build confidence to divert women away from the pathway to prison and into community support. The database will also be a useful tool for support workers to make referrals.

If you are interested in finding out more about this project or would like to be a listed support service please get in touch with WIP’s Campaigns Assistant Jodie at jodie.beck@wipuk.org


Students with convictions – pledge

Ten UK universities have signed the ‘Fair Chance for Students with Convictions’ pledge, following a project led by Unlock. The project is designed to support fair admissions and improve access and participation for universities. Its three main objectives are: putting policies in place at each university; a toolkit for other universities to use and a pledge for universities to sign up to. To ensure applicants are aware of the commitment, signatories will be asked to include a link to the pledge in their admissions policy.

Read more here


Crime figures from the Office for National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics has published its latest crime figures, for the UK:  Crime figures