U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Radical Changes in British Justice Policy in 2002

NCJ Number
Crime & Justice International Volume: 19 Issue: 70 Dated: February 2003 Pages: 5-8
L. Craig Parker
Date Published
February 2003
4 pages
This article analyzes the British Labor Party's (current government) proposed radical changes in British justice policy, reports on crime trends in Great Britain, and explores new developments in community-based corrections and probation.
This study drew on interviews with a variety of probation officials, police officers, academic researchers, planners, and professional administrators at the Home Office. Various reports and documents supplement the on-site interviews and visits to agencies. A key proposal is the Home Office's intention to eliminate the historic "double jeopardy" rule that prevents people from being tried twice for the same crime. Under the proposal, however, the retrying of a person found not guilty under the same charges would be subject to strict criteria. Other proposals are to allow hearsay evidence to be admissible in court; to allow jurors to be informed of a suspect's prior convictions and acquittals; to allow trials by judges without juries; to allow the extension of custodial sentences for dangerous offenders until "their risks appear manageable in the community;" the tailoring of sentencing guidelines to the punishment of the offender and not just the crime itself; the firing of defense lawyers who use delaying tactics; and police powers to impose curfews and other bail conditions on suspects for whom they have insufficient evidence to charge. Discussions with various criminal justice officials and scholars suggest that a strong underlying issue that has spurred the proposed radical reforms was the Labor Party's pledge of 2001 to convict 100,000 more criminals a year by the time of the 2005 election. Recent crime statistics show that the current state of crime in Britain presents a formidable problem for labor, since the numbers have declined by 80,000, thus compounding the problem of reaching the announced goal of convicting 100,000 more individuals. Now the justice machinery must produce 180,000 convictions. In the area of community corrections, the emphasis has been on intensifying the role of probation officers as law enforcement and surveillance agents. 1 figure and 17 references


No download available