By: George Owen

The Splash: How Will Your Vote Effect Criminal Justice?

According to the independent fact-checking organisation, Full Fact, prison populations have nearly doubled in the past 25 years while the numbers of prison staff have fallen by 30% since 2010.

Overcrowding and assaults against prisoners and prison staff are the highest on record.

So what are the main political parties promising for criminal justice at the upcoming general election? How do they plan to tackle crime to reduce the strain on our criminal justice services?

We take a look at the general election 2019 manifestos to see what each party says about law and order, and how their policies might affect your industry.

Conservatives

  • 20,000 more police officers for England and Wales
  • £100m for enhanced prison security
  • 10,000 extra prison places
  • Criminals with four or more year sentences to serve at least three-quarters of their sentence
  • Tougher sentencing for violent offenders, sexual offenders, and animal cruelty
  • Greater stop and search freedoms for police, especially on those with a history of knife crime
  • Immediate arrest and faster charging and sentencing for people found carrying knives
  • Let victims into parole hearings
  • Double the funding for Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Fund
  • Increase financial penalties for convicted offenders, including a 25% increase on ‘victim surcharge’

Labour 

  • 22,000 more police officers, restoring total number to 2010 levels
  • Reverse cuts to prison staff and prison funding with improved pay and conditions for criminal justice workers
  • Police funding reform to distribute resources more equally, focusing on local and community policing
  • Focus on rehabilitation over criminalisation
  • Scrap shorter prison sentences for non-violent and non-sexual offences
  • A publically-run probation system with more value placed on probation officers
  • More collaboration between police and youth workers, mental health services, and drug rehabilitation programmes
  • Investment into tackling cybercrime with a new coordinating minister for cybersecurity
  • Reverse cuts to legal aid and recruit new community lawyers
  • No more court closures or cuts to court staff
  • New Commissioner for Violence Against Women and Girls and a Domestic Abuse Bill
  • Independent review into low rape prosecution rates and new National Refuge Fund for rape crisis centres

Lib Dems

  • Extra 2,000 prison officers
  • £1bn into community policing with two new police officers in every ward
  • Focus on rehabilitation through improved training, education, and work opportunities in prisons
  • Reform laws on drugs including making drug abuse a health issue and creating a legal, regulated cannabis market to curb organised crime
  • Scrap short sentences in favour of non-custodial punishments like tagging and community service
  • £500m to restore legal aid
  • New Women’s Justice Board and specialist training for criminal justice workers who work with women
  • Improve coordination between prison service and probation workers and give more support to prison leavers to reduce reoffending
  • Improve mental health support in the criminal justice system 

Greens

  • Scrap Home Office and replace it with the Ministry for Sanctuary to reform immigration and criminal justice
  • Replace short-term sentences with restorative justice programmes
  • Legalise drugs and create a new system of regulation to tackle organised crime
  • Work to halve prison population with enhanced rehabilitation services
  • Invest in youth workers and centres to keep at-risk-youths away from crime
  • Restrict the use of stop and search to end discrimination
  • Make misogyny a hate crime and strengthen legislation for all hate crimes
  • New community liaison officers
  • Reverse cuts to legal aid
  • New Domestic Abuse Bill to tackle gender-based violence
  • Increase and ring-fence Rape Support Fund

SNP

  • Additional £100m investment into frontline policing over the next five years
  • Protect Police Scotland budget overall
  • Encourage UK government to match a 6.5% increase in police officers for Police Scotland
  • Recruit new Police Scotland cyber-crime and counter-fraud experts
  • Implement ‘Equally Safe’, a strategy to eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls
  • Campaign for UK government to rebate £140m VAT charge to Scottish emergency services
  • Maintain European arrest warrant and access to EU databases
  • Safeguard domestic abuse victims with the new law for emergency protective orders

Plaid Cymru 

  • New human rights charter for Wales
  • Devolve policing and criminal justice powers to Wales, as in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • £50m crime prevention for 1,600 new police officers
  • Reverse cuts to legal aid
  • Community-level interventions to tackle crime
  • New laws to protect victims of crime
  • Maintain European arrest warrant and Europol membership

Hopefully, that’s given you a bit of insight into what the main political parties have planned for crime, criminal justice, and your career.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more in-depth manifesto analysis on Social Care, Animal Health, and Life Sciences.