The Prison Reform Trust and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice, along with a coalition of organisations working with children and young people in the criminal justice system, have written a letter published in today’s Times opposing the government’s proposed knife crime prevention orders. A copy of the letter and a list of signatures is below.
Baroness Doreen Lawrence has also criticised the proposals, in an article in the Times which also highlights today’s letter.
The bill is being debated in the House of Lords today. The Prison Reform Trust and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice have published a briefing for Peers urging them to oppose the new orders and highlighting other key amendments.
Letter published in the Times (6 February 2019)
Sir, As organisations working with children and young people in the criminal justice system, we urge Parliamentarians to oppose the government’s flawed and disproportionate knife crime prevention orders. The proposed orders, which are due to be debated in the House of Lords today (Wednesday 6 February), are a back door to custody. If it is suspected, not certain, that they have carried a knife twice in two years, children as young as twelve can be given an order lasting up to two years. The order can stipulate where they go, when they have to be indoors and what they can look at and say on social media. Breaching that civil order could see them getting a prison sentence of up to two years.
The Government says it has listened, and got the message that prevention is what will help most. But there is no evidence that orders like these prevent harmful behaviour, or address the root causes of knife carrying. Children and young people carry knives for complex reasons, including fear for their own safety. Effective prevention means dealing with that complexity, and investing in organisations and programmes rooted in the communities that are suffering the most. Reaching yet again for the easy but ineffective punitive option lets down the very people the government says it wants to help.
Pippa Goodfellow, Director, Standing Committee for Youth Justice
Peter Dawson, Director, Prison Reform Trust
Helen Schofield, Acting Chief Executive, Probation Institute
Andy Peaden, Chair, Association of Youth Offending Team Managers
Frances Crook, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform
Jacob Tas, Chief Executive, Nacro
Tariq Desai, Lawyer Criminal Justice, Justice
Matt Hussey, Public Affairs Manager, The Children’s Society
Baillie Aaron, Founder and CEO, Spark Inside
Amira Asantewa, Director of Communities, Grit
Bob Ashford, Founder, Wipetheslateclean
Jonathan Black, Chair, London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association
Phil Bowen, Director, Centre for Justice Innovation
Nina Champion, Director, Criminal Justice Alliance
Rohati Chapman, Interim CEO, Khulisa
Caimin Collins, Chief Executive Officer, MAC-UK
Darren Coyne, Projects and Development Worker, The Care Leavers Association
Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England
Jamie Gill, Partnership Director, 1625 Independent People
Anne-Marie Day, Researcher and Lecturer, University of Bedfordshire
Nicky Hill, Interim CEO, StreetDoctors
Ben Kernighan, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Leap Confronting Conflict
Ross Little, Chair, National Association for Youth Justice
Ian McCaul, Chief Executive Officer, Chiltern Way Academy Trust
Mary O’Shaughnessy, Consultant
Kate Paradine, CEO, Women in Prison
Enver Solomon, Chief Executive Officer, Just for Kids Law
Christopher Stacey, Co-director, Unlock
John Tenconi, Chair, Michael Sieff Foundation
George Turner, Manager, Carney’s Community Centre
Bill Waddington, Chair, Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association
Caroline Liggins, Associate, Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors
Andrea Coomber, Director, Justice