Tag Archives: restorative justice

On statues being pulled down and our response

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What should we do with people who tear down public statues? Apply restorative justice techniques.

As Liberal Democrats, I hope we all agree that the statue of Edward Colston should have been removed from its location a long time ago: it represented a very public promotion of someone whose wealth was built from vile acts.

In the back of our minds should be another question – what if a different statue had been pulled down? One where we didn’t quite agree whether it should still be there or not? Where the rights and wrongs of the person’s life weren’t as clear cut? Or where we didn’t feel there was a clear consensus?

More plainly: should we support those committing these acts being prosecuted or not?

We either take the punitive approach – a crime is a crime; or we allow it to pass, with the risk that mob rule ensues on any viewpoint that can get enough people together.

I don’t think we should take either view: we should apply a restorative justice approach to these acts.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

The day the arts took a swipe at cuts…

On March 31st my colleague Alex and I went to see the play “The day the arts took a swipe at cuts”.

My friend Alex and I actually went to see the play “Victim” which is currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre in Islington. We did this after being contacted through our roles with Liberal Democrats for Prison Reform and a brilliantly hard-hitting show it was too.

“Victim” is a play that perfectly demonstrates how broken our prison system is. It tells the harrowing tale of the power struggle between the inmate and the guard, and the roles they play in a system that has been brutally hit by harsher-than-necessary cuts. This blog is not so much a review (such a phenomenal performance has no shortage of positive reviews) as it is a cry out for support and an end to cuts in this frankly broken prison system.

The Prison Reform organisation, Liberal Democrats for Prison Reform have, since our launch, been looking for a way to exemplify how much reform is needed to our prison system to make it fit for the 21st century. This play does this in a way no article or speech has managed to do yet. Fydor Dovtoyevsky once said, “the degree of civilisation in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” I must say that the fact that this theatre company wrote and performed this moving piece is testament to the scale of the challenge we as a country face.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

Julian Huppert MP writes… Community sentencing and restorative justice

Our country’s relentless focus on punishment for punishment’s sake, rather than as a tool for crime reduction and rehabilitation, has consigned thousands of individuals to a hopeless life with no way out. A staggering 90% of those sentenced in England and Wales in 2011 had committed a previous offence.

Even in the best of circumstances – where criminals are caught, trials are fair and judges pass sentence – prisoners aren’t rehabilitated; victims remain unfulfilled and citizens are rightly angered.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Opinion: Riots, prisons and us

The speeches this week by David Cameron and Ed Milliband made for a very interesting bit of bed-time reading. For me, both the Prime Minister and the Labour leader were pretty wide of the mark. Ed, as he often does came across as being reactionary. Too scared to be seen to defend looters and join the dots toward massive social injustice but too hidebound by his party to talk about throwing away the key, he was left very much floundering somewhere in the ether; neither talking about the roots of the problem (possibly because they lie a little close to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 40 Comments
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