Headlines: October 23rd, 2006

MORE COMMUNITY JUSTICE CENTRES PROMISED

 

The Government is planning to establish ten community justice initiatives following a year of successful operation by the community justice centre in north Liverpool, which is the first of its kind in England and Wales. The centre deals with anti-social behaviour and the crime associated with it.The initiative is designed to involve the community so that local people can play a large part in how the centre is run, including saying which crimes they feel affect local people most and by suggesting unpaid jobs for offenders.

In the first eight months of its work the centre, which is led by Judge David Fletcher, heard more than a thousand adult cases, and more than 300 involving young people. Of those, 10 per cent of the adult hearings saw custodial sentences imposed compared to 17 per cent of those involving youths. In the same period, the centre made orders under which offenders had to carry out 3,231 hours of unpaid work.
The Constitutional Affairs minister, Harriet Harman, said the Liverpool centre had been a boon to the community from the start by targeting crimes that affected it most. “Following north Liverpool’s success, we plan to set up 10 new community justice initiatives so that more people can benefit from what is clearly a winning formula,” she said.

Ms Harman congratulated Judge Fletcher and his staff for steering the centre from its infancy, when only a few people had understood how it could possibly change their lives. “Community justice is about bringing justice closer to the people by tackling offences and anti social behaviour that make life a misery in a neighbourhood, and the north Liverpool team have shown this,” she added.