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Hub 1: Local justice and participation

This hub will generate new thinking, discussion and ideas for policy and practice around the issues of how people (including those who have broken the law or been victims of crime) relate to the state and participate in deliberation about safety and justice.

Hub LeaderStephen Farrall

This hub is led by Professor Stephen Farrall of the School of Law at the University of Sheffield, where he also directs the Centre for Criminological Research.

The hub will focus on three overarching issues:

1. How people relate to the state

How do people view that entity referred to as ‘the state’? What do they want ‘it’ to deliver with regards to notions such as ‘safety’ and ‘justice’? How are such terms understood? What is the emerging role of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) likely to be with regards to these matters? What opportunities for public engagement does the model of PCC’s create? How can we generate more informed (local) deliberation and decision-making in the field of safety and justice?

2. How much involvement do people want in decision-making processes in the criminal justice system?

What sorts of decisions do people wish to help the criminal justice system make when it comes to sentencing people found guilty of offending? How ought such decision making duties be encouraged and permitted? What are the risks and benefits of allowing lay-people to have more influence in the running of the criminal justice system? (What are the risks and benefits of NOT allowing lay-people to have more influence in the running of the criminal justice system?) To what degree can the view and experiences of those people involved in the criminal justice system as victims or offenders be incorporated into such thinking? Are the vehicles (such as deliberative polling or citizens juries) sufficiently well-developed to enable this? Which formal ‘bars’ to the recruitment of those formerly convicted of offending would need to be challenged or removed?

3. The lived reality of citizenship during and following involvement in the criminal justice system

How, and in what ways, have, do and can those formerly convicted of offending make amends for the harms they have committed in the past? To what extent are people able and encouraged to ‘make amends’ for past wrong-doings? In what ways do such efforts at ‘making good’ relate to notions of citizenship (or are they seen as being out with this?)? How might such acts be more formally recognised and valued? To what extent is the formal extension of voting rights to prisoners important in such discussions?

The above three strands of work will encompass a consideration of the roles which families can play, and will also explore how children and young people see and feel about these matter.

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