Three good things
Yesterday was a good day. I went to hear Kenneth Clarke, the new secretary of state for justice, deliver his lecture to the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in King’s College. It has been well covered in the media so I wonâ€™t go over it again, just to say that we welcome his rational view of the failures of the system and look forward to working with him. Andrew Neilson, our assistant director for public affairs, and I met with the prisons minister, Crispin Blunt, last week and he was saying much the same sort of thing. The amazing thing was that the minister kept telling us they are not like the last lot and that everyone should think differently. Such a breath of fresh air and clear thinking.
Of course the second good thing that happened yesterday was the vote in Scotland to curtail the use of very short prison sentences and raise the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12. This is going to add pressure to do the same here.Â
The third interesting development was the vote in the French parliament to make psychological violence an offence as part of a broader range of measures aimed at improving the protection of victims of domestic violence. Whilst I am generally opposed to increasing the panoply of criminal offences, sometimes it can act as a symbol of our distaste and by that indicate to perpetrators that their behaviour is unacceptable. I will watch what happens with interest.