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Centre for Social Justice sets out tough approch to get addicts off drugs and alcohol

Ken Clarke recently caused a flurry when he said that short sentences should be scrapped.  The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), which this morning published a Green Paper on Criminal Justice and Addiction, agrees with him - as the paper makes clear.

The media may thus pick up this one element of the report, causing some to claim that the CSJ's "soft on crime".  A fairer reading is that the proposals set out on the Green Paper, viewed as a whole, represent "tough love", inspired by the compassion-imbued, Christianity-inspired vision characteristic of the institution.

Key recommendations include -

  • Scrapping the National Treatment Agency for drug addicts and replacing it with an Addiction Recovery Board charged with getting addicts off drugs and alcohol through, for instance, greater use of pioneering recovery communities.
  • A zero-tolerance approach by the police to anti-social behaviour with every officer given the freedom to exercise common-sense and discretion and intervene immediately to nip in the bud loutish behaviour.
  • Electing new crime and justice commissioners to bring control of local policing back into local hands.
  • Abolishing the expensive, bureaucratic and remote National Offender Management System (NOMS) and replacing it with local trusts working closely with communities and elected police commissioners.
  • A renewed assault on drug and alcohol use in prison to include tougher enforcement through the greater use of sniffer dogs and drug testing and rehousing inmates in secure community rehabilitation centres.
  • A second chance Act to enable and assist people with a criminal record to find stable employment

The proposals sound like a mix of greater localism, a prison crackdown on illegal drugs and a transformation of the state agencies that deal with rehabilitation.

Paul Goodman


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