Clinks, the umbrella organisation for charities working in the criminal justice sector, has just shared a selection of new sector reports, which might be of interest to some Members.

Children in Custody

HM Inspectorate of Prisons has published Children in Custody 2017–18, an analysis of 12–18 year-olds’ perceptions of their experiences in secure training centres and young offender institutions. It finds that signs of improvement in youth custody establishments have yet to translate into greater feelings of safety for those detained. Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons said “It is notable that there has been no statistically significant shift in the perceptions of children about their treatment and conditions […] Too many children […] report having felt unsafe since coming into custody.”

Read the report here.

Safety in custody

The Ministry of Justice has published Safety in Custody Statistics, England and Wales.

The statistics show that:

  • The number of prisoners who died by suicide rose by 31% in 2018;
  • Overall deaths in custody rose by 10% in 2018;
  • Assaults increased by 20% in the 12 months to September 2018;
  • Assaults on staff rose by 29%;
  • Incidents of self-injury increased by 23%.

Read the report here.

Probation research and evaluation

HM Inspectorate of Probation has published its first Research and Analysis Bulletin of 2019. The bulletin focuses upon the availability and delivery of interventions for probation service users across England and Wales, encompassing the role of contracted providers and partners in supporting desistance from offending, and in keeping other people safe.

Find out more here.

Disclosure under DBS  – High Court ruling

The High Court has rejected the Government’s appeal on disclosures under the DBS scheme, ruling in favour of three people who claimed their lives were blighted by past minor criminal convictions.

This will affect thousands of people with minor and old criminal convictions, whose past currently has to be disclosed to new employers, potential landlords and other parties.

Supreme Court justices found that the criminal records disclosure scheme was “disproportionate” in two respects: that all previous convictions should be disclosed, however minor, where the person has more than one conviction, and also in the case of warnings and reprimands issued to young offenders.  The BBC carries a full report on the ruling, including several case studies reflecting the impact that the DBS scheme has had on individuals.

You can read the full High Court judgement here, and the response by Unlock, a charity working with people with convictions, and to reduce the stigma they face, here.


Drug detection in prisons

In addition, a new type of scanner has been introduced as a trial into ten prisons, to detect drugs on clothing an mail.  The scanners detect traces of a variety of drugs, including psychoactive substances. Increasingly people are soaking clothing or mail items in drugs to smuggle them into prisons, and this new type of scanner will clamp down on this possibility.

Read the press release on the MoJ website.