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Crime and Justice in the 'Big Society'

NCJ Number
Criminology & Criminal Justice Volume: 12 Issue: 5 Dated: November 2012 Pages: 463-481
Rod Morgan
Date Published
November 2012
19 pages
This article examines the current British Government's definition of the "Big Society", what signifies the crime and justice elements of the Big Society, and whether these elements can be sustained.
In this article, the author defines "Big Society" in England as "a society with much higher levels of personal, professional, civic and corporate responsibility; a society where people come together to solve problems and improve life for themselves and their communities". This definition of society involves the redistribution of power from the state to society, giving people the opportunity to take more control of their lives. This article discusses the crime and criminal justice elements of Big Society and how it has moved from an issue used by the Labor Party to one embraced by the Conservative Party. The author posits that the current position of the British Government will lead to a more effective policing and criminal justice policy, though not necessarily a fairer and equal system of justice. The author examines in detail how these developments will affect criminalization, policing, justice reinvestment, and criminal sanctions and the courts. Some of these developments include the use of Police and Crime Commissions to enhance local accountability for policing, and providing funding to service providers to aid them in helping people avoid entering the criminal justice system in the first place. The author notes that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that these developments should be taken seriously and cautiously embraced by the Government. Table, notes, and references