Top Ten: Reasons Why Our CJS is Failing


I found it so difficult narrowing it down to 10 – this could have easily have been a top 100. I support radical change in all these areas, and unless something is done, things are unlikely to change.

  1. The criminal justice system is being used as a social services system – we need to stop criminalising mental health and substance misuse.
  2. The police are under -resourced and over-worked. We can’t expect our police forces to solve every problem from school ground bullying to international terrorism.
  3. Prisons have become a warehousing of people that our society doesn’t know how to help. They are staffed by people with little training or support necessary to carry out the role.
  4. Making profit from the privatisation of criminal justice organisations has become more important than investing in people so they can stop offending.
  5. We expect young people to be good citizens yet we treat young people as deviant outsiders, many have little access to good education and many are living in the depths of poverty created by the same people who then imprison them.
  6. We have lost our humanist approach in justice – just because someone does one bad thing does not make them a bad person – we must learn to forgive people for mistakes.
  7. More investment needs to be made in communities to prevent offending in the first place.
  8. Increasing the number of prisoners puts too much pressure on probation staff who are already over worked with increasing budget cuts.
  9. Those in charge of our criminal justice system refuse to see that the CJS is part of a bigger problem of a neoliberal society.
  10. Punishment and rehabilitation are opposing ideologies, attempting to do both only results in failure. We must ask ourselves, do we want people to change or do we want people to suffer?