Archive for February, 2012

February 19, 2012

Reflections from the Centre for Court Innovation

In view of the current discussion about reducing the age for recognising domestic abuse to 16, or even lower, I thought that this email from Greg Berman at the Centre for Court Innovation was interesting and relevant, as we are likely to be finding more perpetrators of domestic abuse who are also under 18.  This example relates to drug offences, but perhaps some of the same considerations need to be taken into account for domestic abuse.

Dear Friends:
At his annual state of the judiciary address, New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman unveiled a plan to re-engineer how the court system handles 16- and 17-year-old youths charged with minor offenses.Judge Lippman called for a hybrid approach to these cases that would combine the advantages of Family Court with the due process protections of Criminal Court. “This approach puts first and foremost an emphasis on rehabilitation for adolescents, rather than incarceration,” Judge Lippman said. “The present punitive approach turns children into hardened criminals and must be changed.”

To demonstrate the kind of change Judge Lippman hopes to achieve statewide, the court system has created pilot adolescent diversion courts in nine counties, including all five boroughs of New York City.

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February 13, 2012

This is a terrific blog post from Social Finance and well worth reading. The other driver of this change is obviously the potential for greater profit if corporate efforts to boost literacy, health, clean water etc are successful in terms of the potential markets that unlocks internationally.


I read Gillian Tett’s recent FT article “How ‘good’ does a shampoo need to be?”   whilst barely suppressing a desire to shout “Hallelujah!”

This is not due to any desire to increase the sheen and brilliance of my personal hirsuteness (I don’t think “I’m worth it” and one of my colleagues believes I arrange my hair by sticking my fingers in the mains every morning…)  Nor was it a desire for a morning bout of office four part choral harmony.  But rather it was delight that there are some corporate folks out there who perhaps, even just a little bit, get it.

And now they’re talking about it at Davos.  The world is indeed changed.

I’ve never been a huge fan of CSR departments.  The principals on which they are established are sound enough, but the out-working has often failed to be anything other than an under-funded extension…

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February 11, 2012

Sobriety ‘bracelets’ – any impact on domestic violence?

It was reported yesterday that two pilots will take place to test the impact of ‘sobriety bracelets’ in London – one for more and one for less serious offenders.  The idea comes from the States but has also been piloted with some success in Glasgow.  To read more about the Glasgow pilot, see my earlier post about ‘From the Ground Up – Promising Criminal Justice Projects from the US and UK’ which was published by the Centre for Justice Innovation and Policy Exchange (which also featured our work).  It will be interesting to see whether it has an impact on reducing the severity of violence in domestic situations – let’s hope that this is being monitored as part of the pilot.  See below from yesterday’s Guardian:

US-style sobriety bracelets for criminals who are persistently convicted of drink-related offences are to be tested this summer in London.

The small-scale scheme will see offenders who are problem drinkers and commit high-volume alcohol-related offences – such as drunk and disorderly, criminal damage and common assault – given a conditional caution, justice ministers announced.

About 300 offenders this summer are to be given the choice of accepting the sobriety conditions and having their alcohol intake monitored or facing prosecution and the prospect of a drinking ban order imposed on them.

The offenders will be tagged with the bracelets which monitor blood alcohol levels and transmit them to a base station every 30 minutes. Those who fail to comply with the conditions will be prosecuted for the original offence. A second scheme outside London will target offenders involved in more serious drink-related offences. A total of £400,000 is to be made available to fund the schemes.

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