July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities
The Prime Minister joined Justice Secretary Ken Clarke in asking the public to hold the Ministry of Justice to account through a list of departmental priorities launched today.
The Structural Reform Plan (SRP) sets out clear priorities and transparent milestones across Government, allowing the public to check whether commitments are met.
The Ministry of Justice’s SRP sets out the top five priorities for restructuring the criminal justice system:
- Reform of sentencing and penalties
Ensure that the justice system protects the public and reduces reoffending by introducing more effective sentencing policies and considering the use of restorative justice for adult and youth crimes.
- Rehabilitation revolution
Establish an offender management system that harnesses the innovation of the private and voluntary sectors, including options for using payment by results, to cut reoffending.
- Courts and Legal Aid
Reform the Legal Aid system to make it work more efficiently, whilst protecting the most vulnerable members of society. Develop Court reforms to determine how disputes should be resolved, based on principles of transparency, decentralisation and accountability.
- Reform of the prison estate
Review the prison estate’s contribution to rehabilitation and reducing reoffending, developing a sustainable and cost effective prison capacity strategy as part of the Spending Review.
- Civil liberties
Contribute to full programme of measures to reverse the erosion of civil liberties and to roll back state intrusion.
More detail on the measures on sentencing and rehabilitation, including options for contracting out rehabilitation to third parties, is available here.
The SRP is the key tool of the Coalition Government for making departments accountable for the implementation of the reforms set out in the Coalition Agreement. It outlines the key milestones and timescales for delivering the following departmental reform priorities in the run-up to the autumn Spending Review. The contents and timetable will be subject to decisions in the Spending Review, and the Government's overall priority of deficit reduction.
Ken Clarke commented:
'The structural reform plan, which we have published today, sets out the priorities that my department will be working on in the coming months. I am clear that we need to focus our resources on protecting the public, punishing offenders and providing access to justice – in a way that is both intelligent and transparent.
'Working alongside my Cabinet colleagues, we must also play our role in reversing the erosion of civil liberties and rolling back state intrusion in people’s lives. 'The Prime Minister’s visit to the Ministry of Justice today to mark the launch of the structural reform plan highlights the importance of the work of this department to the coalition Government’s programme.
' The Ministry of Justice is among the first departments to publish its plans for implementing the reforms set out in the Coalition Agreement. The public will measure the Government's performance against the key milestones and priorities set out in the plans.