REPORT TO CRIME & DISORDER OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY PANEL. Title: OVERVIEW OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. Date: 27 th October 2009

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1 REPORT TO CRIME & DISORDER OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY PANEL Title: OVERVIEW OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM Date: 27 th October 2009 Officer Reporting: Brian Martin, Community Safety Manager Contact Officer(s): Brian Martin, Tel: Wards Affected: Not applicable Summary This note outlines the key elements of the Criminal Justice System and is based largely on material available on the Criminal Justice System Website (www.cjsonline.gov.uk). The note deals mainly with the processes of bringing offenders to justice which is summarised in Appendix 1. In conclusion, the paper summarises some of the issues in the Criminal Justice System. Introduction The CJS is one of the major public services in the country, with over 400,000 staff across six agencies:- the Police Service, the Crown Prosecution Service, Her Majesty's Court Service, The National Offender Management Service (comprising prisons and probation) and the Youth Justice Board. Within central government, three departments are jointly responsible for the Criminal Justice System and its agencies. They are: The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which is responsible for criminal law and sentencing, for reducing re-offending and for prisons and probation. The MoJ also encompasses the responsibilities of the former Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA), overseeing Magistrates' Courts, the Crown Court, the Appeals Courts and the Legal Services Commission The Home Office which is responsible for crime and crime reduction, policing, security and counter-terrorism, borders and immigration, passports and identity The Office of the Attorney General which oversees the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office and the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office. The government body responsible for co-coordinating the efforts of all these organisations is the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR). OCJR is a cross-departmental organisation, which means that it reports to ministers in all three government departments mentioned above. The OCJR drives forward improvements set out by the National Criminal Justice Board, which is made up of ministers, senior civil servants and heads of service. Locally, 42 Local Criminal Justice Boards co-ordinate activity and share responsibility for delivering criminal justice in their area. Our Local Board is the Thames Valley Criminal Justice Board and there is a more local entity at Basic Command Unit (BCU) Level. Some services and initiatives within the CJS are run by a number of voluntary groups such as Victim Support and the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (Nacro).

2 Aims and Objectives The purpose of the CJS is to deliver justice for all, by convicting and punishing the guilty and helping them to stop offending, while protecting the innocent. It is responsible for detecting crime and bringing it to justice; and carrying out the orders of court, such as collecting fines, and supervising community and custodial punishment. The key goals for the CJS are to: Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the CJS in bringing offences to justice; Increase public confidence in the fairness and effectiveness of the CJS; Increase victim satisfaction with the police, and victim and witness satisfaction with the CJS; Consistently collect, analyse and use good quality ethnicity data to identify and address race disproportionality in the CJS; and Increase the recovery of criminal assets by recovering 250m of assets acquired through crime by The Criminal Justice Strategic Plan sets out how the agencies of the CJS in England and Wales will work together to deliver a justice system which: Is effective in bringing offences to justice, especially serious offences; Engages the public and inspires confidence; Puts the needs of victims at its heart; and has Simple and efficient processes. Tackling Crime Investigation When a crime is reported, the first people involved are the police. Their role is to investigate the crime, identify suspects, catch them and question them. Once their investigations are complete, the police will either: Charge the suspect; Release them - but with a summons (an order) to return at a later date; Deal with them by using an out-of-court disposal (an alternative to prosecution). This includes: for adults (18+) cannabis warning ; simple caution; conditional caution; penalty notice for disorder; and fixed penalty notice (for driving offences) and for youths (10-17) reprimand; final warning; and penalty notice for disorder (16 & 17 year olds only) Release them without charge. Deciding how to deal with the case Before the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was formed in 1986, it was the police who decided whether to take cases to court. Today, the CPS decides whether or not to prosecute people in court. However, the police still investigate the alleged offence and decide some out-of-court disposals. In most cases, Crown Prosecutors will decide whether to charge a person with a criminal offence, and will determine the appropriate charge or charges.

3 In those cases where the police determine the charge, which are usually more minor and routine cases, they apply the same principles. The CPS will decide whether or not to prosecute by applying the Code for Crown Prosecutors to the facts of the particular case. Review Each case the Crown Prosecution Service receives from the police is reviewed to make sure that it is right to proceed with a prosecution. In most cases, Crown Prosecutors are actually responsible for deciding whether a person should be charged with a criminal offence, and if so, what that offence should be. When deciding whether a case should be prosecuted in the courts, Crown Prosecutors consider the alternatives to prosecution in appropriate circumstances. These are the out of court disposals detailed above. When a file is received from the police, a Crown Prosecutor will read the papers and decide whether or not there is enough evidence against the defendant and if it is in the public interest to bring that person to court. Because circumstances can change, the Crown Prosecutor must keep the case under continual review. If the Crown Prosecutor is thinking of changing the charges or stopping the case, they will contact the police wherever possible. This gives the police the chance to provide more information that may affect the decision. Although the police and the CPS work closely together, both organisations are completely independent of each other, and the final responsibility for the decision as to whether or not to proceed with an offence that has been charged rests with the CPS. Magistrates' Courts Virtually all criminal cases start in the Magistrates' courts. The less serious offences are handled entirely in the magistrates court. Over 95% of all cases are dealt with in this way. The more serious offences are passed on to the Crown Court, to be dealt with by a judge and jury. Magistrates deal with three kinds of cases: Summary offences. These are less serious cases, such as motoring offences and minor assaults, where the defendant is not entitled to trial by jury. Either-way offences. As the name implies, these can be dealt with either by the magistrates or before a judge and jury at the Crown Court. Such offences include theft and handling stolen goods. A suspect can insist on their right to trial in the Crown Court. Similarly, magistrates can decide that a case is sufficiently serious that it should be dealt with in the Crown Court - which can impose tougher punishments. Indictable-only offences, such as murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery. These must be heard at a Crown Court. If the case is an indictable-only offence, the involvement of the Magistrates' Court is brief. A decision will be made on whether to grant bail and other legal issues, like reporting restrictions, will be considered. The case will then be passed to the Crown Court. If the case is to be dealt with in the Magistrates' Court, the defendant will have to enter a plea. If they plead guilty or if they are later found to be guilty, the magistrates can impose a sentence of up to six months imprisonment or a fine of up to 5,000. If the defendant is found not guilty (if they are 'acquitted'), they are judged innocent in the eyes of the law and should be free to go - provided there are no other cases against them outstanding. Cases are heard either by three lay magistrates or one District Judge. The lay magistrates, or 'Justices of the Peace', as they are also known, are local people who volunteer their services. They don't have formal legal qualifications, but are given legal and procedural advice by

4 qualified clerks. District Judges are legally qualified, paid, full-time professionals and are usually based in the larger cities. Crown Court Because of the seriousness of offences tried in the Crown Court, these trials take place with a judge and jury. The Crown Court deals with: Indictable-only offences such as murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery; Either-way offences transferred from the Magistrates' Court; Appeals from the Magistrates' Court; Sentencing decisions transferred from the Magistrates' Court. This can happen if magistrates decide, once they have heard the details of a case, that it warrants a tougher sentence than they are allowed to impose. If the defendant is found not guilty, they are discharged and no conviction is recorded against their name. Sentencing When deciding what sentence to impose, magistrates and judges have to take account of both the facts of the case and the circumstances of the offender. A sentence needs to: Protect the public; Punish the offender fairly and appropriately; Encourage the offender to make amends for their crime; Contribute to crime reduction by stopping reoffending. The courts can impose four levels of sentence, depending on the seriousness of the offence: Discharges Fines Community sentences Imprisonment Fines are the most common option used by the courts. Community sentences can include 'restorative justice' - making amends directly to the victims of crime. The most severe punishment, imprisonment, is generally only used for the most serious offences. If a crime is an imprisonable offence, it will have a maximum term laid down by Parliament. Judges and magistrates are also given sentencing guidelines - designed to provide consistency throughout the criminal justice process. There are also fixed minimum sentences for some serious repeat offenders. Punishment and rehabilitation Appropriate punishment and rehabilitation is determined by the courts, although rehabilitative measures (such as attendance on drug or alcohol treatment programmes) can form part of a conditional caution, one of a range of out-of-court disposals (alternatives to prosecution) available under the criminal justice system for adults (18+). There are also alternatives to prosecution for youths (10-17).

5 HM Prison Service When someone is convicted and sent to prison, they pass into the care of the Prison Service. For a long sentence, they could be held in a prison anywhere in the country. For shorter sentences, however, they are likely to remain in their local area. While public safety is paramount, everyone in prison has to be treated with fairness and humanity. As well as trying to reduce crime by promoting law abiding behaviour, the service aims to provide productive activities that will educate and rehabilitate prisoners so that, when they are released, they won't re-offend. National Probation Service The National Probation Service works with offenders either because they have just been released from prison, or because they have received a community sentence, for example a Community Rehabilitation Order or a Drug Treatment & Testing Order. Programmes like these force offenders to understand the consequence of their actions and help them to change their behaviour. They are often combined with measures to tackle issues like illiteracy, unemployment or homelessness that can contribute to re-offending. When potentially dangerous offenders are due for release, the National Probation Service works with other agencies to manage and monitor the situation to ensure the safety of the public and the offender. The probation service also advises the courts on sentencing and re-offending risk, and keeps victims of serious crime informed about when offenders are due for release from prison. Performance The Criminal Justice System needs to be transparent and accountable to the local communities it serves. Local Criminal Justice Boards (LCJBs) were established across England and Wales in April 2003 to enable us to do this better. The CJS Strategy for (Working together to cut crime and deliver justice; A strategic plan for ) supports Public Service Agreement 24 (PSA24), which was one of 30 PSAs set for government departments under HM Treasury's 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. The review sets out funding for departments and what those departments are expected to deliver. PSA 24 is titled "Deliver a more effective, transparent and responsive Criminal Justice System for victims and for the public". Delivery is the responsibility of the National Criminal Justice Board (NCJB), supported by CJS Officials and the 42 LCJBs. LCJBs will work across the CJS agencies and local partnerships to develop local delivery strategies. PSA 24 will be measured against five performance indicators: 1. Improve effectiveness and efficiency of the CJS in bringing offences to justice. 2. Increase public confidence in the fairness and effectiveness of the CJS. 3. Increase victim satisfaction with the police and victim and witness satisfaction with the CJS. 4. Consistent collection, analysis and use of good quality ethnicity data to identify and address race disproportionality in the CJS. 5. Increase recovery of criminal assets: Recover by million of assets acquired through crime. PSA 24 will also measure improvements in compliance and enforcement through indicators designed to measure whether we are: increasing the payment rate for financial penalties; executing FTA warrants more quickly;

6 resolving community penalty breaches more quickly; and recalling to prison more quickly those offenders who breach the terms of their licence. Youth Offending There is a YOT in every local authority in England and Wales. Technically, they are made up of representatives from the police, Probation Service, social services, health, education, drugs and alcohol misuse and housing officers. In practice many services prefer to fund services rather than second staff. Each YOT is managed by a YOT manager who is responsible for coordinating the work of the youth justice services. YOTs are overseen by the Youth Justice Board. Because the YOT incorporates representatives from a wide range of services, it can respond to the needs of young offenders in a comprehensive way. The YOT identifies the needs of each young offender by assessing them with a national assessment. It identifies the specific problems that make the young person offend as well as measuring the risk they pose to others. This enables the YOT to identify suitable programmes to address the needs of the young person with the intention of preventing further offending. The flow chart in Appendix 1 touches on youth offending while the flow chart in Appendix 2 summarises the youth process. Drug and Alcohol Action Teams (DAATs) Technically the DAATs are not part of the CJS and they are overseen primarily by the National Treatment Agency. However, most DAATs, like our own, have a key role to play with the management of offenders with drug habits, particularly Prolific and Other Priority Offenders (PPOs). The key roles of DAATs are to provide information and advice to residents and to commission / provide treatment services for substance misusers. This Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting is discussing the work of the DAAT in depth and therefore this paper does not discuss the DAAT service further. Known Issues in the Criminal Justice System The Home Office reviewed the CJS in 2006 Rebalancing the criminal justice system in favour of the law-abiding majority, Cutting crime, reducing reoffending and protecting the public It may be worthwhile revisiting the action plan in this document. Poor conviction rates in rape cases Over half of women in prison have suffered domestic violence and 1 in 3 has experienced sexual abuse Poor conviction rates in cases of Domestic Abuse. Lord Bradley s Landmark report asserts Too many offenders with mental health difficulties and learning disabilities are ending up in prison without access to appropriate treatment Probation Service Case Workload The size of the prison population Sentences of less than 12months are not successful in tackling re-offending

7 Appendix 1 Criminal Justice System Overview Crime Investigation Entry into the system Arrest Out of Court Disposal CPS Lawyer Review Release & Summons to appear at a later date Probation Service advises on sentencing Adults cannabis warning simple caution conditional caution PND FPN Summary offences Youths reprimand final warning PND e.g. less serious cases, such as motoring offences and minor assaults Appropriate Charge Magistrates Court (Lay magistrates or District Judge) Either Way offences e.g. theft and Handling stolen Goods sentences of up to 6 mths imprisonment or a fine of up to 5,000 Indictable only Offences & Either Way Offences Crown Court (Trials with Judge & Jury) Prosecution, Sentencing and out of court disposals Discharges & Fines Imprisonment (HM Prison Service) Supervision of offenders released on Licence (Overseen by the ProbationService) Community sentences (Overseen by the Probation Service) Punishment and rehabilitation

8 Appendix 2

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