CJA comments on proposals for Victims’ Law

The Victims’ Commissioner has today published her proposals for a Victims’ Law.

Commenting on the proposals, Nina Champion, Director of the CJA, said:

‘The CJA was delighted to be consulted on the Victims’ Commissioner’s proposals for the Victims’ Law, and we welcome her focus on restorative justice and the needs of Black, Asian and minority ethnic victims. 
‘Research shows that restorative justice increases victims’ satisfaction, improves their wellbeing, and reduces reoffending. Yet only 1 in 20 victims recall being informed about restorative justice, according to the Office for National Statistics, representing a missed opportunity for improved victim confidence and less crime. This will continue to be the case until criminal justice agencies, such as the police, are required by law to inform victims about restorative justice, as the Victims’ Commissioner has recommended. 

‘The government has in the past produced national action plans for restorative justice. However, the last action plan produced was for the period 2016 to 2018. We’d like the new Victims’ Law to require the government to have an action plan in place, to increase the awareness and use of restorative justice and practices across the criminal justice system. This will help embed a restorative culture and ensure restorative justice is a priority for the police, prisons and probation. 

‘Our members have told us that Black, Asian and minority ethnic victims can face bias and discrimination when dealing with the police and other agencies in the criminal justice system, and that a lack of trust and confidence can result in lower uptake of victims’ services. We also know many specialist organisations working with victims from minoritised communities struggle to get the funding they need. We therefore welcome the Victims’ Commissioner’s call for criminal justice agencies to have a duty to report on how they’re meeting the needs of victims from minority groups.’ 

In 2019, the CJA published its ‘A journey of learning, growth and change’ report, looking at how restorative justice is being used across England and Wales. We also held a roundtable with members to discuss the experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic victims.

CJA calls for better education in prisons

The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) has set out how education can be improved in prisons, in a response to an inquiry by the Education Select Committee.

To form our response, we held an expert group meeting of members working in prison education and employment. This included the Prisoners’ Education Trust, The Forward Trust, Working Chance, StandOut, Bounce Back and Tempus Novo.

In the response to the inquiry, we call for prisons to work more closely with employers who have jobs available, to co-create programmes which teach the vocational skills that the employers need. We also call for a much greater focus on digital skills; for prisons to help individuals develop soft skills and the right mindset for work; and for greater availability of higher-level qualifications.

We set out how the prison regime hinders education and training, with several hours during the day often lost and people arriving late for sessions due to a lack of prison officers. The lack of digital infrastructure is also a significant barrier to both prison education delivery and enabling communication between prison staff, prisoners, employment-focused organisations and employers.

People with lived experience can engage others with education and employment, and we recommend giving contracts to organisations who employ people with lived experience and reforming opaque and onerous vetting procedures.

We discuss how investing in the infrastructure around probation and community sentences such as unpaid work placements, rather than investing in enlarging the prison estate, is a more effective long-term strategy.

In the response, we also discuss increasing buy-in from prison officers, how apprenticeships in prison might work, how prisons can greater involve families, and other key issues.

Read our response, Education: Are prisoners being left behind?

The CJA is recruiting for a Deputy Director

The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA), a network of 160 organisations working towards a fair and effective criminal justice system, is pleased to announce an exciting new opening for a Deputy Director.

This post offers the opportunity to work with a talented trustee and staff team to continue growing the reach and impact of the CJA. We have ambitious plans for growth and the Deputy Director will be critical in helping us to realise those aims.

The Deputy Director will be responsible for raising and growing revenue to increase the CJA’s capacity and impact, producing all financial reports required for the organisation, maintaining high standards of governance and increasing operational effectiveness.

Person specification

We are looking for:


  • At least two years’ experience in a relevant senior role.
  • Experience of developing and implementing successful fundraising strategies.
  • Experience of obtaining and managing partnerships with trusts and foundations including understanding their needs and developing highly personalised relationships.
  • Experience of researching, writing and monitoring applications to a broad range of trusts and foundations to secure restricted and unrestricted funding support.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills.
  • Excellent financial skills including developing and managing budgets and forecasts.
  • Excellent understanding of management accounting and use of Xero (or similar).
  • Excellent IT skills including Excel and databases / CRMs.
  • Highly organised with the ability to meet deadlines and manage competing priorities.
  • Ability to work flexibly within a small team.
  • Commitment to proactive promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Commitment to the mission and vision of the CJA.


  • Experience of working with a membership and/or advocacy organisation.
  • Understanding of charity governance.
  • Degree (or equivalent) and / or professional qualification in a relevant field.
  • Understanding or experience of the criminal justice system of England and Wales.

The salary for this post is £45,000 – 50,000 p.a., depending on experience. This is a full-time post, although we would also consider applications for 4 days a week, with salary pro rata.

To apply, please complete the application form and send it – marked ‘Private and Confidential’ – to nina.champion@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk. Please also return the recruitment analysis form. This will be separated from your application upon receipt.

The closing date for applications is midday on 18 January 2021.

We intend to hold interviews on 4 and 5 February, via Zoom.

We value having a diverse range of perspectives, expertise and insights in the organisation. We are particularly keen to receive applications from Black, Asian and minority ethic people and people with lived experience of the criminal justice system.

For more information about the role, view our Deputy Director recruitment pack.


CJA responds to the government’s White Paper on sentencing

The CJA has published a response to the government’s sentencing White Paper, drawing together the views and recommendations of several organisations working across the criminal justice system.

In September, the Ministry of Justice published A Smarter Approach to Sentencing, a White Paper which sets out the government’s plans to reform sentencing and release in England and Wales.

In a comprehensive response, the CJA and several members highlight positive elements of the White Paper and identify areas which cause concern.

The response also includes wide-ranging recommendations, urging the government to use this opportunity to create a criminal justice system which diverts people away from the dead end of prison and gives people the best chance at a life away from crime.

The members who contributed were JUSTICE, Circles UK, KeyRing, Prisoners’ Education Trust, Revolving Doors Agency, Transform Justice, Magistrates Association, Sentencing Academy, Women in Prison, Why me?, Unlock,  Transition to Adulthood Alliance, EQUAL, Release, Probation Institute and Nacro. 


CJA announces winners of annual criminal justice awards

The CJA has announced the winners of its annual CJA Awards.

At a sparkling ceremony broadcast live from a studio in London last night, Junior Smart announced the winners and runners-up of this year’s awards with an infectious passion and energy, and spoke to the individuals and organisations about the inspiring and impactful work they have done.

The winners of the CJA Awards 2020 are:

Outstanding National Organisation

  • Unlock – winner
  • Birth Companions – runner-up

Outstanding Local / Regional Organisation

  • Children Heard and Seen – winner
  • Changing the Game – runner-up

Outstanding Individual

  • Brendan Ross, St Giles Trust – winner
  • Gavin McKenna, Reach Every Generation – runner-up
  • Michaela Booth, Practice Plus Group – runner-up

The winners of the Media Awards 2020 are:

Outstanding Journalism

  • Symeon Brown, Channel 4 – winner
  • Ria Chatterjee, ITV News – runner-up

Outstanding Digital Media Champion

  • Prison Bag – winner
  • Prison Radio Association – runner-up

Outstanding Documentary

  • The Punch – winner
  • The Choir, Aylesbury Prison – runner-up
  • Unchained – runner-up

The CJA Awards, now in its sixth year and generously supported by the Hadley Trust, celebrate outstanding individuals and organisations who have made a significant contribution towards creating a fair and effective criminal justice system.  

The Media Awards celebrate journalism and digital media that has reported on criminal justice sensitively and constructively, and that has improved understanding of criminal justice in society.

The Outstanding Documentary and Outstanding Local or Regional Organisation were new categories this year, and both were fiercely contested.

Thank you to everyone who joined the ceremony last night and congratulations to the winners.

Don’t worry if you missed it – you can watch the CJA Awards 2020 ceremony on our YouTube.

Read more about the shortlisted candidates in the CJA Awards 2020 brochure.

Proposed police power could prevent rehabilitation and hamper efforts to tackle violent crime

Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) are a new power proposed by the Home Office which will allow police to stop and search someone who has previously been convicted of carrying a knife, for the period the order is in place. 

In a response to the Home Office’s consultation on the new power, the Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) has argued that SVROs should not be introduced as they will not address the underlying reasons for reoffending and knife carrying. Instead, they will disrupt a person’s rehabilitative journey by encouraging officers to continuously stop and search them, even after they have made a commitment to change their lives. This labelling and stigmatisation could reinforce negative stereotypes and cause harm and trauma, potentially drawing them back into a life of crime rather than away from it. 

The CJA consulted with its Stop and Search Expert Group and a focus group of young people from Voyage to draft the response. They raised concerns that SVROs will further exacerbate the disproportionate use of stop and search on black and minority ethnic people. Even the Home Office consultation document noted: ‘This may mean that people from an ethnic minority who are subject to an SVRO are more likely to be searched in practice.’ The CJA argues that this does not show due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty and could further damage trust and confidence in policing. Rather than tackling violent crime, it could discourage victims or witnesses of violent crime from coming forward to get help from the police or health service, reinforcing the wall of silence. 

SVROs could also lead to younger children and girls being groomed and criminally exploited by people on SVROs to carry knives on their behalf, to evade detection from police. Also, if stops and searches are not conducted sensitively or individuals are frustrated at being stopped and searched on a regular basis, we are concerned that there might be an increase in arrests for public order offences, obstruction or assault. This could lead to criminalisation of individuals under an SVRO and those mistakenly stopped under this power. 

The CJA is also concerned about the potential for SVRO searches to be conducted by the Territorial Support Group (TSG), who are not local neighbourhood police officers and therefore can lack local knowledge and cultural awareness, which can increase tensions. 

We strongly oppose the implementation of SVROs, as we feel there is inadequate evidence of effectiveness. We would rather see funding and resources focused on increasing trauma-informed support services for people who have carried knives, rather than increased surveillance. 

If SVROs are to be introduced, we strongly urge the government to implement this as a pilot for adults only, with the option for the order to be reviewed regularly and for it to be removed early if, for example, the individual is engaging positively with support services. 

We would also want to see local and national scrutiny of this power and other stop and search powers. Community scrutiny panels should be mandated in every police force and supported to effectively scrutinise SVROs, as well as stops and searches under other powers. For this to be effective, panels need to follow the new College of Policing guidance on effective scrutiny and community engagement, influenced by the CJA’s Stop and Scrutinise report.  We believe that for this to be fully embedded in practice, the Home Office must establish a national body for community stop and search scrutiny panels, similar to the Independent Custody Visitors Association, which could provide training, establish scrutiny frameworks and monitor national stop and search data. 


CJA announces judges for annual criminal justice awards

The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) is thrilled to announce the judges of the CJA Awards 2020.

The CJA Awards celebrate individuals, organisations, journalists and digital media champions who have contributed to or promoted a fairer and more effective criminal justice system. Now in its sixth year, the CJA Awards 2020 features new categories and cash prizes, with the generous support of the Hadley Trust.

The judges of the CJA Awards 2020 are:

  • Alexandra Wilson. A barrister and the author of ‘In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System.’
  • Jamie Bennett. Former prison governor and Deputy Director for Operational Security at HMPPS. He is also Editor of the Prison Service Journal.
  • Whitney Clark. A youth consultant and Advisory Board Member for Peer Power, which was the Runner-Up of the Outstanding Organisation Award in 2019.
  • Pastor Lorraine Jones. CEO and Founder of Dwaynamics, which Lorraine set up in memory of her son. 

The judges of the CJA Media Awards 2020 are:

  • Anushka Asthana. Guardian Editor-at-large and host of the Today in Focus podcast.
  • Emmanuel Onapa. Freelance journalist, Campaigns Manager at Hackney Account and youth leader at Hackney CVS. 
  • Philippa Budgen. Former BBC journalist, media consultant, Scholarship Manager at the Longford Trust and Trustee at Transform Justice.
  • Chris Frost. Former newspaper editor and Chair of the National Union of Journalists’ Ethics Council.

Nominations close on Sunday 18 October 2020. Find out more and apply for the CJA Awards and the CJA Media Awards.

CJA welcomes new Chair and Trustee

The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) is delighted to announce its new Chair, Kevin Wong. Kevin is Associate Director of the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit at Manchester Metropolitan University and has been a Trustee of the CJA Board since April 2019.

Kevin will be taking over from John Drew OBE. We are incredibly grateful to John for his dedication, wisdom and support. John will remain as a Trustee until the start of 2021.

Kevin brings a wealth of expertise and experience in criminal justice, which he has detailed in a blog for members below.

I am excited, and I have to admit a little daunted, to be taking over as the Chair of the CJA, for two reasons.

The first, my immediate predecessor John Drew has skilfully and most adeptly helped the CJA build on its strengths; consolidating its position as both an important membership organisation which spans the criminal justice system, and as a consistent and impartial advocate for a progressive and evidence led criminal justice system (CJS).

The second and this is where it becomes daunting – I feel that it’s incumbent on me to make sure that this continues.

The great strength of the CJA is the wealth of expertise and experience of its membership – something which comes to the fore in every briefing, policy report and letter to the latest justice minister or home secretary.

It is this very collective and at the same diverse expertise that will enable us to address the challenges that we face. The most obvious and immediate one being the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; as well long-standing, systemic issues such as racial injustice within the criminal justice system, brought to the fore this year by the murder of George Floyd.

Undoubtedly, as illustrated by the pandemic, there will be new challenges that we are as yet blissfully unaware of. I’m sure that together, supported by our small but committed staff team, ably led by our Director Nina Champion and backed up by my fellow Trustees, we will measure up admirably.

Let me devote the remainder of this blog to telling you about myself. Not something that I’m prone to doing – but a wise person – John – advised me that this is what the members will really be interested in.

It’s probably fair to say that I’ve had a somewhat unusual career trajectory.

I’ve worked in criminal justice for over 25 years. Before that I spent 11 years in community legal advice. Over this time I’ve had variety of roles, from volunteering with Citizens Advice to being an Assistant Director at Nacro, and to my current job as Reader in Community Justice and Associate Director of the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit at Manchester Metropolitan University.

As far as criminal justice is concerned, I’ve been a practitioner developing and delivering services; a commissioner, overseeing the Home Office Safer Cities Fund in the mid to late 90s; and a policy adviser to the police, local authorities and probation. As a researcher and research director, I’m committed to generating the best evidence possible on what works and what doesn’t work in criminal justice.

Aside from the criminal justice and community legal advice work, I’ve been a commissioned script writer for radio, film and theatre, including the BBC and Unity Theatre in Liverpool. I’ve run writing workshops for young people working with community groups and colleges, and I’ve been a promoter of Chinese arts and artists. My most recent foray into the arts world is as the founder and Director of the Manchester Crime and Justice Film Festival, where I’ve been able to bring together my twin passions of criminal justice and movies in one place.

This is me.

I look forward to getting to know members and helping the CJA move forward in the next stage of its development.

The CJA is also pleased to announce that it has appointed a new Trustee.

Kimberley Lamb is an experienced youth justice professional, currently Head of Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation unit (VERU), and a Board Trustee for a local charity which was founded and is run by an ex-service user. Kimberley is former Vice Chair of Bedfordshire Police’s Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel and previously led Bedfordshire’s Victims Signpost Hub.

Kimberley said: ‘I am delighted to be selected as a Trustee for the CJA. I’ve been a keen admirer of the CJA’s work for some time now, particularly in the areas of effective scrutiny and accountability and the benefits of having a diverse workforce. Equal to my fellow trustees, I am passionate about finding approaches and solutions that address systemic issues within the CJS. So it is a complete honour to be given the opportunity to contribute further to a changed narrative, alongside those who also strive for a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.’

CJA comments on government sentencing proposals

Following the announcement of the sentencing proposals this morning from Robert Buckland, Secretary of State for Justice, Nina Champion, Director of the Criminal Justice Alliance, said:

“There is no evidence that longer prison sentences deter people from committing crimes or make our communities safer. Instead they increase overcrowding and violence in prisons, destroying the opportunity for rehabilitation and putting additional pressure on a prison system already at breaking point.  

“There are some promising proposals nestled within the government’s white paper, such as problem-solving courts and the use of community sentences, which reduce crime more effectively than short prison sentences. However, curfews and monitoring must be proportionate, with the government focusing its resources on tackling the root causes of offending.

“We welcome the government’s plans to reduce the amount of time during which some people will have to disclose a criminal record to an employer. However, the exclusions based on offence type reduce the impact of these proposals, preventing a large number of people from getting into work, which would reduce crime and lead to a safer society.

“It is encouraging to hear mention of increasing the use of Out of Court Disposals, for example by offering restorative justice as a remedy for low level crimes. This is a positive way to divert more people from our criminal justice system. The proposed reforms to remand for children are also promising, but should apply to adults as well, to reduce the numbers in prison who have not been convicted of an offence.”

If you’d like to contribute to our response to the white paper, please email amal.ali@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk.

CJA discusses COVID-19 good practice and recovery in two new reports

The CJA has published two new reports focusing on challenges and good practice across the criminal justice system during the pandemic, and what is needed to rebuild a better criminal justice system in the aftermath.

The first report, Routes to Recovery, draws on discussions with CJA members in virtual meetings in June and July. The report highlights challenges and good practice during COVID-19 across policing, courts, prisons, probation and resettlement, victims’ services, mental health and drug and alcohol services. The report also provides recommendations for policy makers, highlighting how they can build a better criminal justice system following the pandemic.

The second report, Responding Restoratively to COVID-19, focuses on how restorative approaches have provided a unique and effective response to the unprecedented challenges and tensions caused by COVID-19. The report also explores how restorative approaches could be used to address the harms and trauma caused by the pandemic, and to build a better criminal justice system and a safer and more cohesive, resilient society.

This report is the first in our Responding Restoratively series, which will showcase restorative practice and approaches and the potential for a more restorative criminal justice system.

Thank you to all the members and experts who contributed to these reports.


CJA hosts panel on lived experience with three inspirational speakers

The CJA recently held an event on the value of lived experience in the criminal justice workforce.

CJA Director Nina Champion was joined by three inspiring individuals with lived experience who now work in prisons and probation. They discussed the value of lived experience, the challenges they’ve faced working in the sector, and how we can increase the number of people with lived experience in the criminal justice workforce.

The event took place as part of the HMPPS Insights20 series.

Watch the event below:

CJA welcomes new stop and search guidance on community scrutiny

The College of Policing has released new guidance encouraging community scrutiny of stop and search, which the CJA helped to influence. Commenting on the guidance, Nina Champion, Director of the CJA, said:

“Disproportionate and unfair use of stop and search is traumatising and alienating young black men. It has damaged community trust in policing, and stops people from coming forward if they are victims or witnesses of crime, undermining efforts to tackle violence.   

“We welcome the College of Policing publishing guidance on improving community scrutiny of stop and search. Giving communities the opportunity to scrutinise use of stop and search powers can improve transparency and accountability, reduce unfair and disproportionate use, and help restore trust.   

“The Home Office should now build on this by establishing a national body to assist and oversee stop and search community scrutiny groups, as well as providing sufficient funding to implement the recommendations set out in the guidance.  

“The Home Office should also make community scrutiny of stop and search mandatory for each police force, and ensure access to body worn video footage of searches to enable effective monitoring. 

“Effective community scrutiny will lead to better policing, increased trust, and safer communities for all.” 

CJA Awards 2020 open for nominations

We are pleased to announce that the CJA Awards 2020 are now open for nominations. 

The CJA Awards celebrate individuals, organisations, journalists and digital champions who have made a significant contribution towards creating a fair and effective criminal justice system, and is generously supported by the Hadley Trust.  

Now in its sixth year, we are delighted to announce that the CJA Awards 2020 will feature a number of new award categories and cash prizes.  

We know many organisations and individuals have had to innovate and adapt this year to continue to deliver services and influence change throughout the pandemic. We hope this years’ awards will be an opportunity to showcase and recognise that creativity and tenacity.  

Previous winners of the Outstanding Organisation Award include the Zahid Mubarek Trust, which works to improve race equality in prisons, and DIVERT, an initiative that supports young people in police custody into employment, diverting them from the criminal justice system. Previous winners of the Outstanding Individual Award include Marie-Claire O’Brien and Barry Flanagan, who both use their lived experience to help people leaving prison. 

The categories and prizes for 2020 are: 

  • Outstanding National Organisation will receive £3,000, and the runner up with receive £1,000. 
  • Outstanding Local / Regional Organisation will receive £3,000, and the runner up will receive £1,000. 
  • Outstanding Individual will receive £1,000, and the runner up will receive £500. 

We will also have our Outstanding Lifetime Achievement award selected by CJA trustees. Last year this was awarded to Barry and Margaret Mizen MBE, who set up the charity ‘For Jimmy’ in memory of their son. 

The CJA Media Awards has also now opened for nominations. The Media Awards celebrates journalism and digital media that has reported on criminal justice sensitively and constructively, and that has contributed to a better understanding of criminal justice in society.  

Previous winners include David Cohen of the Evening Standard, for his special investigation into the public health approach to tackling youth violence, and the Bird Podcast, which provides a platform to those in prison to talk about their experiences.  

Last year’s Outstanding Journalist was Adele Robinson from Sky News for her documentary on the work of Circles of Support. This year, we are pleased to announce a new Outstanding Documentary category. The documentary format allows for a deep exploration of criminal justice issues, they often reach a wide audience, and there have been many fantastic examples in the past year.  

The categories and prizes for the CJA Media Awards 2020 are: 

  • Outstanding Journalism 
  • Outstanding Digital Media Champion 
  • Outstanding Documentary 

The awards ceremony will take place in mid to late November. It will be held via Zoom due to restrictions on large gatherings.  

The closing date for nominations is Sunday 18 October 2020.

Presenters and judges to be announced.  

For more details on how to apply, please visit our CJA Awards and Media Awards pages.  

To see previous winners, visit our CJA Awards 2019 page.  

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Twenty one years after Macpherson Report, systemic racism in policing continues

The CJA has submitted a consultation response to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry ‘The Macpherson Report: Twenty years on’, arguing that ‘ethnic and racial disproportionality in the use of police powers continues and must be tackled urgently.’

We recognise the effort and hard work by the government and police forces to foster policies that meet the spirit of the Macpherson Report since its launch over 20 years ago. However, many challenges remain and are outlined in this submission.

In the 21 years that have passed since Sir William Macpherson lead the public inquiry, it is deeply troubling that systemic and institutional racism still persists within policing and the wider criminal justice system (CJS). As David Lammy’s review highlighted, black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups are still disproportionately represented throughout the CJS, from stop and search, to imprisonment, to deaths in custody as well as being more likely to have force used against them.

Despite progress which has been made in rebuilding relations between the police and black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities, we are concerned that changes over the past 12 months, in particular relating to s.60 stop and searches and COVID-19 police powers, could undo that positive work. Therefore, urgent action needs to be taken to reverse this and improve trust and confidence through better scrutiny, accountability, transparency and adherence to the letter and spirit of the Public Sector Equality Duty and Police Code of Ethics.

In this consultation response, we discuss:

  • Stop and search
  • The increase of police use of force, including Taser
  • The disproportionate use of COVID-19 powers
  • The lack of independent scrutiny of policing
  • The lack of representation in police forces

Read the consultation response, The Macpherson Report: Twenty one years on.

CJA comment on prison building plans

In response to the Ministry of Justice plans to create 10,000 extra prison spaces, Nina Champion, Director, Criminal Justice Alliance, said:

“We are disappointed and concerned by the government’s re-announcement that it will create 10,000 extra prison spaces with four new prisons under the guise of rebuilding our economy. If the government truly wishes to level up communities after this national crisis, it should instead invest in building and improving schools and colleges, youth centres, supported accommodation, courts, women’s centres and safe spaces for victims. Such investment will reduce crime, lessen inequality, improve life chances, and make our communities safer places to live.  

“Prisons are not effective, and prevent people from reaching their full potential. We must invest in pathways that lead people away from crime and into better lives. In the aftermath of a global pandemic, when we need strong and resilient communities, this is now more important than ever.”

The CJA is recruiting a new Chair

The CJA is looking for a Chair to lead the Board of Trustees and the charity into its next exciting chapter and further grow its impact.

The CJA is a network of over 160 organisations working across the criminal justice system from prevention to policing, prisons to probation and beyond. Our members include charities, professional associations, think tanks and research bodies. We work to influence policy and practice for a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.

The Board is currently made up of nine people with varied professional and personal experience of the criminal justice system and expertise in advocacy, charity governance, communications, equality and diversity, finance, fundraising, lived experience leadership and research. Our current Chair is due to step down from the Board after six years of service, and four years as Chair.

‘I have enjoyed every moment. Our 160 members speak with the expertise of more than 13,000 people, and the broadest imaginable set of experiences. Our aim is to strengthen the voices of these experts in pursuit of our overarching objective of building a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.’

-John Drew, Chair

 The Chair is responsible for leading the Board of Trustees, ensuring that it fulfils its responsibilities for the governance of the organisation. The Chair’s role is also to work in partnership with the Director, helping them to  achieve the aims of the organisation and to optimise the relationship between the Board and staff. As a micro-charity, we are looking for a ‘hands-on’ Chair who can work closely with the Director to help realise the charity’s ambitions to grow its impact and ensure a sustainable financial future.

Person Specification


  • A strong and visible passion for creating a fair and effective criminal justice system.
  • Demonstrable commitment to prioritising equality, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of work.
  • Track record of putting lived experience at the heart of decision-making.
  • A broad understanding of policy influencing and systems-change.
  • Tact and diplomacy, with the ability to listen and engage effectively.
  • Ability to foster a collaborative and inclusive team environment.
  • Experience of chairing meetings or events.
  • An understanding of charity governance.
  • Ability to commit time to conduct the role well, including travel to meetings and attending occasional events out of hours.


  • Experience of operating at a senior or strategic leadership level.
  • Experience of charity governance, working with or as part of a Board of Trustees.
  • An understanding of financial management and / or charity finance issues.
  • Experience of working with, or as part of, an alliance or network to influence collaboratively.

The role is unpaid, but we can cover reasonable expenses and provide access to relevant training. Applicants are asked to send a CV (maximum two sides of A4) and covering letter (of no more than 500 words) outlining why they’re interested in the role and what they could bring to our Board. They’re also asked to provide details of two referees.

The closing date for applications is 12 July. Interviews will be held in the week commencing 27 July. These are likely to take place via Zoom.

Please send your applications to Director Nina Champion at nina.champion@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk. If you’d like to have an informal conversation about the role, please call Nina on 07803 011358 or email her, and she will put you in touch with the Trustee overseeing the Chair recruitment, C.J. Burge.

John, our retiring chair, who will be playing no part in the selection process, would also be happy to discuss the role with you. John can be contacted on 07946 854605 or at jjhdrew@me.com.

For more information and the full job description and person specification, please read our Chair recruitment pack.


Victims’ Code should include right to be referred to Restorative Justice service

This week, the CJA has responded to the Consultation on Improving the Victims’ Code. In our response, we call for a right for victims to be referred to a Restorative Justice service. 

On the whole, the revised Victims’ Code 2020 provides clarification on the support victims can access and their entitlements when reporting a crime. However, our chief concern is that this process of simplification has resulted in unintended consequences by reducing the level of entitlements with regard to information about and access to Restorative Justice services. 

This is important given the strong evidence of the benefits of Restorative Justice, which can increase victim satisfaction, improve their wellbeing and reduce reoffending, as set out in our 2019 report A journey of learning, change and growth: A roadmap for increasing Restorative Justice across England and Wales. Given these benefits, we would like to see greater clarity in the revised Code around the right to information about Restorative Justice and the right to access Restorative Justice services, with a right to be referred to a Restorative Justice service being an entitlement of its own.  

We are also concerned about how people in custody who have been victims of crime can effectively access their entitlements, and the potentially disproportionate impact on BAME victims if only police have a responsibility to provide information and make referrals to Restorative Justice services. 

Read our response to the Consultation on Improving the Victims’ Code.  

The impact of COVID-19 on people with protected characteristics

The CJA has published a briefing looking at the impact of COVID-19 on people with protected characteristics across the criminal justice system.

There is strong evidence that people with protected characteristics suffer worse outcomes within the criminal justice system. It is unsurprising that at this time of national crisis, some groups of people have been impacted more severely than others. Although progress has been made to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on such groups, the government must go further and faster.

Our briefing, Unequal Impact: COVID-19 and the impact on people with protected characteristics, was sent to the Women and Equalities Committee for its inquiry into the impact of COVID-19.

People affected by the criminal justice system can often be hidden from public view and public discourse, whether victims of domestic violence or people sharing prisons cells locked down for 23 hours a day. We have set out pragmatic recommendations in this submission, most of which have already been made to the Ministry of Justice and Home Office in previous weeks by ourselves and many of our members. We hope the Committee will find this evidence useful and will help to hold the Ministry of Justice and Home Office to account.

You can read our other policy briefings and consultation responses on our resources page.

Restorative Practice is a ‘national asset’ during COVID-19 and beyond

In March, the CJA held a meeting of its Restorative Practice Expert Group to discuss how restorative approaches could reduce conflict and build safer communities in a range of settings during COVID-19. The expert group members discussed challenges, opportunities, and why Restorative Practice (RP) is a ‘national asset’ during COVID-19 and beyond.

We heard that many restorative practitioners are continuing to offer services via phone or video calls during COVID-19. However, face-to-face Restorative Justice (RJ) conferences involving prisons have been put on hold. The expert group noted that there will be a backlog of RJ cases because of this. Practitioners are speaking to victims to keep them updated as the situation progresses.

The group also discussed several ways in which RP could be used to improve outcomes for people across the criminal justice system during COVID-19. With prisoners in lockdown for 23 hours a day, there will likely be a rise in conflict and tension. Restorative practitioners could provide support to prisoners via the additional phones that have been rolled out across the prison estate. Practitioners could also put together restorative resources for prisoners and peer mentors, who can use restorative techniques to reduce conflict themselves.

The expert group also discussed the rise of domestic abuse and hate crime, and how RJ could be used in such cases. Greater use of RJ as an Out of Court Disposal would help reduce the pressure on courts, which are likely to be overwhelmed in coming months given the backlog of cases. Expert group members also discussed the early release of prisoners, and how RP could be used to reduce any conflict which arises when prison leavers return home at this stressful time.

Last year, we published a briefing on RJ provision across England and Wales, and what must be done to increase its use. One of the findings was that RJ works best when it is not used as an ‘add on’, but is delivered as part of a restorative culture where a range of restorative approaches are used. Over the coming months, the CJA will be producing a series of briefings for policy makers showcasing how restorative practice can reduce pressure on schools, the police, courts, prisons and probation, and how it can improve outcomes for people across the criminal justice system.

Research shows that RJ can increase victim satisfaction, improve their wellbeing and reduce reoffending. Implementing restorative practice will help build a criminal justice system that is fair and effective.

If you would like to join our Restorative Practice Expert Group, contact nina.champion@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk.

Employing people with lived experience: ‘It’s often about prejudice, not risk’

The criminal justice system faces a range of systemic issues, from overburdened prisons to crumbling courts to an uncertain future for probation, all amplified by COVID-19. Now more than ever, we need fresh, innovative and systemic solutions, which can be provided by employing people with lived experience across the criminal justice sector. However, many face barriers to employment, as set out in our Change from Within report. The CJA recently held the fourth meeting of its Lived Experience Expert Group, chaired by CJA trustee C.J. Burge from St. Giles Trust, to discuss how we can implement the recommendations in that report.

The expert group said that the challenge of securing employment for prison leavers will be even greater during COVID-19. People with convictions are often ‘bottom of the pile’, especially when unemployment is high. The positive work done on reducing stigma around employing people with convictions and advocating for criminal records reform will need to be reinforced.

CJA Director Nina Champion updated the group on several positive calls the CJA has had with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), HMPPS, and the Going Forward into Employment (GFiE) scheme at the Cabinet Office, which aims to get prison leavers into employment in the civil service. However, the GFiE scheme currently is limited to people leaving prison, rather than applicants who are on probation, and the roles are limited in terms of seniority. There are also a lack of opportunities to work in the Ministry of Justice or HMPPS itself. The expert group commented that people with convictions often face a ‘glass ceiling’. They felt GFiE must be clear about how people can progress in the civil service and offer ‘growth’ roles, as well as opening up opportunities to those on probation. According to the expert group, lots of work needs to be done to change perceptions and raise awareness of the benefits of lived experience in the MoJ and wider civil service.

There are challenges in other parts of the sector too. The group felt that it can be difficult to get people with lived experience into work in schools and Pupil Referral Units because there is a misconception that they ‘glorify’ crime. And vetting continues to be a barrier to people with convictions working in prisons, due to the discretion of individual governors who may not be as progressive as others. One expert group member said: ‘It’s often about prejudice, not risk.’

In terms of promoting criminal justice roles in prison and probation settings, the expert group highlighted that criminal justice organisations need to attend job fairs, which are often only attended by construction, restaurants and retail. The expert group noted that current probation reform provides an opportunity to create spaces for people with lived experience at various levels. The expert group also said that the Charity Commission — which can disqualify people with certain convictions from working in leadership roles — continues to be a barrier, with only a small number of waivers granted.

The expert group noted that volunteering continues to be a vital stepping stone into work in the criminal justice sector for people with lived experience. However, there must be progression routes from volunteering into paid work. As one expert group member said, ‘people need to eat.’ There must also be more support for people with lived experience who have spotted a gap in criminal justice provision to set up social enterprises.

The CJA thanks the expert group members for their contributions and will promote the issues and solutions raised to policy makers in the coming months. For more information, read our Change from Within report, which features insights from people with lived experience working to improve the criminal justice system.

CJA provides COVID-19 recommendations to Justice Select Committee

The CJA has today sent a briefing with recommendations to the Justice Select Committee regarding COVID-19, at their request. When the significant impact of COVID-19 became apparent two weeks ago, we worked with some of our members to establish pragmatic recommendations for policy and practice to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system, and ultimately, to protect the lives of those working in or affected by it. These were communicated privately to the government and to officials. However, progress remains frustratingly and dangerously slow. We urge the Select Committee to press government to make decisions immediately, to protect the health and safety of those who work and are supported and managed through the criminal justice system.

Read the briefing here.

Key recommendations for the Ministry of Justice include:

  1. Reduce overcrowding and prevent spread by managed early release of low-risk cohorts of prisoners.
  2. Reduce the churn of new entrants into prisons by reducing short sentences, recall and remand.
  3. Provide emergency funding to victims’ services, including domestic violence services.
  4. Provide in-cell phones to all prisoners to contact family and helplines at this time.
  5. Ensure front line staff have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and increase testing for COVID-19 and antibodies.
  6. Guarantee accommodation, financial and practical support to all prison leavers and fund organisations to adapt their services. 
  7. Ensure monitoring of custodial settings continues, and allow prisoners to call Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs) directly. 

CJA Members Meeting and Launch of the Incarceration Nations Network

On 29 November, the CJA hosted its latest Members Meeting featuring Dr. Baz Dreisinger in conversation with Afua Hirsch, launching the Incarceration Nations Network (INN). Dr. Dreisinger is a Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York; Author of Incarceration Nations; Founder of John Jay’s Prison-to-College Pipeline programme and a Global Fulbright Scholar for her work promoting restorative justice and higher education in prisons internationally. A transcript of the conversation is available here.

INN is a global network working to reduce mass incarceration, build safer communities and reduce recidivism. The network will enable organisations to collaborate and learn from each other’s innovative practice.  It offers a wide-reaching international platform to those directly impacted by the justice system to lead the movement for its reform. INN also aims to globally change the narrative about prisons and the people in them.

We also heard from a panel chaired by Darren Coyne, Project Manager, The Care Leavers’ Association, featuring Mike Trace, CEO, The Forward Trust, Andy Jackson, Recovery Support Team Leader, The Forward Trust, Baljeet Sandhu, Author of ‘The Value of Lived Experience in Social Change’ and ‘Lived Experience Leadership: Rebooting the DNA of Leadership’ to discuss the launch of Change from Within. 

There was a performance from Brenda Birungi, Founder of Unchained Poetry and Straightline Prison Radio host, who also participated in a panel chaired by Danny Shaw, BBC Home Affairs Correspondent and CJA Media Awards Judge, discussing ‘How can we change the narrative about criminal justice issues?’, featuring Jodie Jackson, Constructive Journalism Project & Author of ‘You are what you read’, Mat Ilic, Chief Development Officer at Catch22 & Former Special Adviser at No.10, Lib Peck, Director, London Violence Reduction Unit, Enver Solomon, CEO Just for Kids Law and former BBC journalist.

Credit: Jessica Bernard

The CJA is recruiting!

This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced policy professional to join the CJA as Policy Officer. You will work closely with the CJA Director as part of a small team to develop and implement the CJA’s strategy – ‘Connecting for Change’ – to make the criminal justice system in England and Wales safe, smart, person-centred, restorative and trusted. Having a wide membership from across the CJS means there will be great variety to your work which will cover a range of crucial issues from policing to prison reform, race disparity to restorative justice.

The Policy Officer is responsible for monitoring policy and political debates and developments on core criminal justice issues, which will give you the opportunity to develop expert knowledge in specific policy areas relevant to the CJA’s current strategy. The Policy Officer is expected to produce a wide range of high quality publications that make robust recommendations for policy and practice. You will also need to build and maintain good relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, from CJA members and people with lived experience, to politicians and civil servants, and represent the CJA at roundtables and meetings with key influencers.

You will have at least three years relevant work experience and good knowledge of policy making and parliamentary processes, with experience of involvement in the successful influencing of government or other policymakers. You will need excellent written and verbal communication skills and a commitment to the vision, mission and strategic objectives of the CJA.

We value having a diverse range of perspectives, expertise and insights on our team.  We are particularly keen to receive applications from black, Asian and minority ethic people and people with lived experience of the criminal justice system.

The deadline for applications is midnight on 12 January 2020.

If you’d like to have an informal conversation about the role, please email nina.champion@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk to arrange a time.

We look forward very much to receiving your application.

CJA Awards 2019 – Winners Announced

We’re delighted to announce the winners of the 2019 CJA Awards, kindly supported by the Hadley Trust:
Details about the work of the winners, and all those shortlisted, can be found in the Awards brochure – What Good Looks Like.

New report: Change from Within

We’re delighted to launch our new report ‘Change from Within‘ at today’s CJA Members Meeting. The report highlights the urgent need for the sector to provide greater opportunities for people with lived experience to move into paid employment, leadership and influencing positions in the sector. It makes a range of recommendations for government departments, commissioners, public bodies, employers, the Charity Commission, criminal justice funders, universities and the inspectorates.

We’re very grateful to our lived experience expert group for their guidance, the employees and employers who provided their insights and to George whose passion and hard work contributed significantly to this report while on a ROTL placement at the CJA.

CJA and EQUAL respond to s.60 stop and search equality impact assessments

Following requests from the CJA in letters to the Home Secretary and her predecessor, the Home Office has published Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) for the changes to s.60 suspicion-less searches. These changes, which lower both the threshold and seniority of rank required to authorise a s.60 order, were piloted initially in March 2019 in seven police forces before being rolled out nationally in August.

The CJA wrote to the Home Office setting out concerns that the pilot and subsequent roll out were done without any public consultation, without providing evidence to demonstrate their necessity and without due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Given the disproportionate use of suspicion-less searches on BAME people and the impact this has on police community relations and trust in the criminal justice system amongst BAME people, the EIA is a vital document to understand how, given the above, the government demonstrates it is complying with the Duty.

The Duty requires the public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. The published EIAs rightly point out that s.60 is used disproportionately against BAME people and acknowledges that increasing the use of. S.60 searches will ‘pose the risk of magnifying any residual levels of discrimination in the use of this power. We would also expect, given that individuals from BAME backgrounds are more likely to be searched, that any increases in s60 would continue to disproportionately affect them.’

The EIA concludes in relation to police/community relations, that ‘it is likely that more BAME individuals are searched under this power despite not committing any offences, and without being provided with significant person specific justification for searches taking place. Given the potentially negative impact on trust in the police that an increase in stop and search might have, this would probably risk having a negative effect on a part of the community where trust / confidence levels are typically low. Since trust in the police and co-operation with them is often necessary for effective community policing, such changes may create broader issues.’

Meanwhile, the EIAs’ assessment of the potential positive impact of increasing s.60 searches is highly caveated: ‘It is not possible to rule out that a modest increase in the use of S60 stop and searches might have a small positive impact on serious violence offences, if the power is used in a highly targeted way.’

The CJA and EQUAL will be writing to the Home Secretary to seek an urgent review of the changes to s.60 in light of these revealing assessments. We will also raise our serious concerns that, contrary to the government’s stance, the EIAs do not in fact demonstrate compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty. Trust and confidence within BAME communities will only increase where they see the Government and the police acting on the evidence they produce on racial disparities.






The CJA is recruiting!

Communications and Engagement Officer

This exciting new post will harness and amplify the expertise of our 150 member organisations, helping us to achieve our vision of a fairer and more effective criminal justice system. This role forms a crucial part of our new strategy – ‘Connecting for Change’ – by assisting with the development of the CJA’s new communications strategy and leading on its implementation to reach a variety of audiences including policy makers, the public, CJA members and the wider sector. Having a wide membership from across the CJS means there will be great variety to your work which will cover a range of crucial issues from policing to prison reform, race disparity to restorative justice.

You will have the opportunity to develop new, creative approaches to communicating our messages, lead on social media, support the re-design of the website and liaise with the media. You will travel to visit members across the country to understand and promote their work and help them share their expertise and network through arranging engaging and effective member meetings, round-tables, policy forums, expert groups and our annual CJA Awards and Media Awards.

You will develop methods to capture member feedback and maintain up to date and accurate systems to track engagement and areas of member expertise. We are a small team, so you will work closely on a day to day basis with the Director and Policy Officer to influence change and work together with our members and Board to achieve a criminal justice system that is safe, smart, person-centred, restorative and trusted.

You will have at least two year’s (paid or unpaid) relevant work experience in a communications and/or engagement related post, strong IT and social media skills and excellent organisational skills, including some experience of event management. You will need excellent verbal and written skills to communicate with impact  and the ability to build positive relationships with a range of stakeholders and work flexibly as part of a small team. Crucially, you will have a commitment to the vision, mission and strategic objectives of the CJA.

We value having a diverse range of perspectives, expertise and insights on our team.  We are particularly keen to receive applications from black, Asian and minority ethic people and people with lived experience of the criminal justice system.

The deadline for applications is midnight on 17 November 2019.

If you’d like to have an informal conversation about the role, please email nina.champion@criminaljusticealliance.org.uk to arrange a time.

We look forward very much to receiving your application.



CJA and CJI launch new briefing for prospective PCCs

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) play a crucial role in tackling crime, addressing the needs of their communities, and ensuring the justice system is fair and effective. In this role, PCCs can stimulate local innovative practice, bring together organisations and individuals from across the criminal justice system to make these initiatives a success and make substantial change to the lives of people affected by crime.

The CJA and the Centre for Justice Innovation have launched a new briefing highlighting some of the main challenges facing the criminal justice system and provides practical innovative solutions that prospective PCCs could include in their manifestos for the 2020 elections.

CJA and CJI to launch PCC briefing at party conferences

Looking ahead to the 2020 PCC elections, CJI and CJA are producing a briefing informed by an expert group of CJA members, which showcases current innovative practice supported by PCCs across the country. The launches of this briefing at party conferences will feature discussions with David Jamieson, PCC for the West Midlands, and Katy Bourne, PCC for Sussex, who will be joined by a range of voices on topical justice issues including Serious Youth Violence, County Lines and Restorative Justice. After initial presentations from the panels, the events will be opened up to all attendees to contribute to the discussion about the crucial role PCCs have to play in leading innovation in justice, and about the challenges and opportunities the future holds.

The events are free and you do not need an official conference pass. Please email dlugton@justiceinnovation.org if you would like to attend, and please state whether you have any accessibility requirements.

Labour Police and Crime Commissioners: Leaders for Justice Innovation

Tuesday 24th September 2019, 13:30 – 15:00

Mercure Brighton Seafront Hotel, 149 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2PP, Room: Ballroom


  • David Jamieson, PCC for the West Midlands
  • Gareth Evans, Intern for the West Midlands PCC
  • Lucy, Restorative Justice Ambassador for Why Me?
  • Junior Smart, Business Development Manager and Founder of the SOS Gangs Project, St. Giles Trust.



Conservative Police and Crime Commissioners: Leaders for Justice Innovation

Monday 30th September 2019, 15:00 – 16:30

Friends’ Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5NS, Room G3


  • Katy Bourne, PCC for Sussex
  • Linda, Ambassador for Sussex Restorative Justice Partnership
  • Joanne Bakare, Custody Suite Youth Specialist Worker, St. Giles Trust

Director’s Update – July 2019

Dear Members,


This month marks one year since I joined the CJA as Director.  I have enjoyed meeting so many of our members. I’m proud of what we have achieved over the last year in developing a new vision, mission and strategy for the CJA ‘Connecting for Change’.  Our new strategy began in April. To keep members up to date with progress, I am going to provide a verbal and written update at each members’ meeting.


Effective Scrutiny and Accountability:

  • Following our Stop & Scrutinisereport, the College of Policing are revising the Authorised Professional Practice on scrutiny of stop and search.
  • MOPAC (London), Cheshire and Humberside are using the report to review their community scrutiny processes.
  • We wrote to the Home Secretary about our concerns with the new pilot making it easier to authorise suspicion-less s.60 searches. The Minister of Policing confirmed they would consult with the CJA on the impact of the pilot and next steps.
  • We convened two expert meetings to co-ordinate a response to 6-month review stage of the pilot.
  • I gave evidence to the APPG on Knife Crime on stop & search and to the Justice Select Committee on progress since the Lammy Review.

Restorative practices and supporting BAME victims:

  • We published and disseminated a report on Restorative Justice which was endorsed by the Victims Commissioner and PCC Lead for Victims.
  • We held a roundtable event with members in partnership with the MoJ Race Disparity Team discussing the needs of BAME victims.

Fit for purpose and diverse workforce:

  • Our volunteer on release on temporary licence from prison has been exploring the experiences of people with lived experience working in the criminal justice system. A briefing with recommendations will be published later this year.
  • We held a roundtable event at the MoJ bringing together people working to increase the racial diversity of the workforce from across the criminal justice pathway.

Engaging members to draw together expertise:

  • We held a roundtable hosted by Lord Ramsbotham, discussing probation reforms. A briefing note has been circulated to policy makers and key stakeholders.
  • We hosted a policy forum at the Ministry of Justice on the topic of post-release accommodation with the new Head of Accommodation for HMPPS.
  • We look forward to opening the 2019 CJA awards shortly, which will be presented at an evening reception on 29 November, combined with our members meeting and UK launch of the global ‘Incarceration Nations Network’ in the afternoon.

Influence policy makers, commissioners and the public to achieve our vision

  • We convened an expert group of members to begin co-producing a PCC manifesto in advance of the PCC elections in May 2020 with Centre for Justice Innovation.
  • I presented a paper on women and remand at the Advisory Board for Female Offenders and organised a meeting of CJA members on the issue of the overuse of custodial remand.
  • We convened an expert group of journalists and CJA members to refresh and develop of annual CJA outstanding Journalism Award, to better promote constructive, solution focused and ethical reporting of criminal justice issues.
  • We responded to consultations including the Home Affairs Select Committee on 20 years since the MacPherson report, the Labour Party consultation on their future justice policy and the Home Office consultation on a public-health duty. In line with the CJA response the government u-turned on plans for an individual duty.

Build the capacity of small organisations and people with lived experience to influence change

  • We have established a CJA lived experience expert group and I continue to support and advise the HMPPS Service User Advisory Group. We have also held regional meetings in Bristol and Birmingham.

CJA news


I hope you have a wonderful summer!

Very best wishes,

Nina Champion, Director

‘A journey of learning, growth and change’

The CJA has launched its latest briefing on Restorative Justice – ‘A journey of learning, growth and change‘. The briefing provides a succinct account of the current landscape for Restorative Justice and restorative practices in England and Wales. It is based on a survey sent to all police forces across the country and follow-up interviews.

In her foreword to the report Baroness Newlove, the Victims’ Commissioner, writes:

‘Under the Victims Code, all victims should be informed how to take part in RJ, but sadly only 7.5% say they recall being offered the option. In effect, this means that the remainder have the decision made for them. This is not good enough. I want all victims to be empowered to make an informed decision on whether to seek RJ. And for those who do, they should find a service of the highest quality, treating them with sensitivity and care. I therefore welcome this report from the Criminal Justice Alliance, highlighting the benefits of RJ and how to deliver a service that is truly transformational for a victim’s recovery.’

Dame Vera Baird, PCC for Northumbria and the APCC’s national lead for victims, writes:

‘Police and Crime Commissioners are committed to a vision of RJ for victims at all stages of the Criminal Justice System. This report gives examples of good practice, including my force area, Northumbria. It also sets a challenge to the whole RJ field to ensure that the delivery of RJ is strengthened further. I look forward to the CJA sharing this report with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, so PCCs can bring about further improvements in this area.’

Chair of Met BPA addresses CJA members

Janet Hills, Chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, addressed CJA members at the latest Members Meeting on the topic of policing, diversity and scrutiny. A transcript of her speech and Q&As is available here.

New briefing: Stop and Scrutinise

The CJA’s latest briefing ‘CJA Stop and Scrutinise 2019‘ sets out key principles and recommendations for good practice in community scrutiny of stop and search. The briefing is the result of a survey sent to all police forces in England and Wales and interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, including police representatives, academics and community scrutiny experts.

New CJA Strategy Launched

The CJA has launched its new strategy ‘CJA Strategy Summary 2019‘, which sets out a bold vision to harness and share our members’ expertise in order to tackle some fundamental, systemic issues with relevance across the criminal justice pathway.

Become a CJA Trustee!

‘In a sector I love it’s been a privilege to be a part of a wonderful Board for a forward-looking charity’ 

– C.J. Burge, St. Giles Trust (CJA Trustee)

As we prepare to launch and implement our three year strategy in 2019, we are seeking to recruit new trustees to join us at this exciting time to help us achieve our ambitious goals for a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.

We always aim to recruit both from our member organisations and among those with expert knowledge to bring to our work.

We value having a diverse range of perspectives, expertise and insights on the Board.  We are particularly keen to receive applications from black, Asian and minority ethic people and people with lived experience of the criminal justice system.

We are also looking for applicants with knowledge of charity finance, communications, fundraising, policy/public affairs, equalities issues and/or expertise in any of the topics related to our work streams.

The role is unpaid, but we can cover reasonable expenses and provide access to relevant training and mentorship. Please find below:

Applicants are asked to send a CV (maximum two sides) and covering letter (of no more than 500 words) outlining why they’re interested in the role and what they could bring to our Board. They’re also asked to provide details of two referees.

The closing date for applications is 28 January 2019. Interviews will be held in Vauxhall at the start of February 2019.


Read what some of our current trustees have to say about the experience:

C.J. Burge, St. Giles Trust: ‘As a first-time trustee I have found the experience very interesting and rewarding. In a sector I love it’s been a privilege to be a part of a wonderful Board for a forward-looking charity, particularly as someone with lived experience of the criminal justice system. The role has given me great insight into both the macro and micro management of an organisation such as managing risks and resources. I have benefited from listening to, and working alongside, the other trustees.’

Lucy Jaffé, Why Me? ‘I value being involved with the Criminal Justice Alliance as a Board member because I can contribute to supporting vital change across the criminal justice system, support the important work of member organisations and learn from Board colleagues. It is very rewarding.’

Frances Flaxington, Criminal Justice Consultant: ‘The strength of the Board is the diverse mix of skills and experience which enables us to support members and the small staff team to focus on different challenges in the criminal justice system.’

John Drew, Chair ‘I have been a CJA trustee for more than 3 years now and have enjoyed every moment. Our 150 members speak with the expertise of more than 13,000 people, and the broadest imaginable set of experiences. Our aim is to strengthen the voices of these experts in pursuit of our overarching objective of building a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.’


CJA Awards Shortlists Announced

The Criminal Justice Alliance Awards shine a light on individuals and organisations who have made a ‘marked contribution to effectiveness, fairness or new models of delivery’.

The Awards, generously supported for the fourth year by The Hadley Trust, will give prizes of £4,000 and £2,000 to organisations and £1,000 to an individual who have contributed materially to improving outcomes and demonstrating impact. An award will also be given for outstanding journalism which has made a notable contribution to a better understanding of criminal justice.


Please see the full shortlists here.

Shadow Justice Secretary addresses CJA members

Richard Burgon MP, Shadow Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, delivered a speech at the last CJA Members Meeting setting out the Labour Party’s current priorities on criminal justice. A copy of his speech is available here.

How to start reducing the prison population

Today we have published a briefing setting out eight pragmatic and incremental ways the government could begin to reduce the prison population without impacting public safety.

We estimate that these measures could reduce the population by 12,000 places over the lifetime of this parliament. This would reduce the pressure on the system, making it safer and freeing up to £900 million which could instead be spent on diverting people from the criminal justice system in the first place and providing effective rehabilitation services to prevent re-offending.

We propose the government focus on eight areas: recalls, remand, indeterminate sentences (IPP), sentence creep, short sentences, people experiencing mental health problems, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people.

The full briefing can be read here and a blog from our Director Nina Champion on this can be read here.

Prisons Minister addresses CJA Members

Rory Stewart MP, Minister for Prisons, delivered a speech at the CJA Members Meeting on 26 April, stating his concerns with the high levels of violence and drug use occurring in prisons across the country. A summary is available here.

Nina Champion appointed CJA Director

The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) is delighted to announce the appointment of Nina Champion as its new Director with effect from 1 July. Nina is currently Head of Policy at the Prisoners’ Education Trust.

CJA Chair John Drew said: ‘We couldn’t be more pleased that Nina has accepted our invitation to lead the CJA in the years ahead. At a time of crisis for many parts of the criminal justice system, her experience and clarity of thought about effecting change will be of enormous benefit to the charity.’

Nina Champion said: ‘I’m hugely honoured to have been offered this important and exciting role, working with a wide range of inspiring organisations doing such impressive work across the country. I look forward to engaging with them, and in particular with as many people as possible who have lived experience of the criminal justice system.’

The CJA is a coalition of 136 member bodies, founded in 2007 and now employing some 17,000 people between them. Membership – across the criminal justice pathway from policing to prisons and probation – has doubled since 2015.

Nina Champion succeeds Ben Summerskill. John Drew said: ‘Ben has made an outstanding contribution both to the CJA and to criminal justice reform during his three years with us. We’re indebted to him for everything he’s done.’

Divert and Panorama top CJA Awards 2017

We are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s CJA Awards. A full list of the winners can be found here and further details of their work, and the work of shortlisted and longlisted organisations and individuals can be found in What Good Looks Like.

PGA President Andrea Albutt speaks at CJA Members Meeting

Andrea Albutt, President of the Prison Governors Association, spoke at the last CJA Members Meeting about the historical and current challenges facing the prison service and what can be done to improve treatment and outcomes for prisoners and staff.

A full transcript of her speech is available here.

CJA Awards 2017 Shortlists

We are delighted to announce the shortlists for this year’s CJA Awards. The full lists for outstanding organisation, individual and journalism are available here.

CJA Trustee Recruitment

The Criminal Justice Alliance is seeking to recruit new trustees to join our Board from January 2018. We always aim to recruit both from our member organisations and among those with expert knowledge to bring to our work.

Please find below:

  • Background Information on the CJA and its Board, including a Role Description
  • Recruitment Analysis Form

Applicants are asked to send a CV and covering letter (of no more than 500 words) outlining why they’re interested in the role and what they could bring to our Board. They’re also asked to provide details of two referees. Applications close on Monday 25 September. Interviews will be in October.



CJA Awards 2017

The CJA Awards celebrate organisations and individuals who have made a marked contribution to

  • Effectiveness
  • Fairness
  • New models of delivery

anywhere across the criminal justice pathway from policing to prisons and probation.

The 2017 Awards – generously supported by the Hadley Trust – will give prizes of £4,000 and £2,000 to two organisations and £1,000 to an individual to support the area of their work. Entrants must have worked in their field for at least two years. This year’s judges include Frances Gibb, Legal Editor of The Times, and Eva Hamilton MBE, Founder and CEO of Key4Life.

Details about how to apply available here.

Peter Clarke addresses CJA members

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, spoke at the latest CJA Members Meeting on 6 July. He highlighted the continuing and growing challenges facing the prison estate, and the role and impact that the inspectorate can and should be having. A transcript is available here.

No respect: Young BAME men, the police and stop and search

The CJA has published a briefing on the recent experience of young black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) and stop and search. No Respect is a digest of in-depth interviews and opinion polling among the two million BAME young people aged 16-30 in England and Wales.


Policy Officer – Criminal Justice Alliance

We’re recruiting a Policy Officer. If you or anyone you know would like to join the Criminal Justice Alliance, the Recruitment Pack can be downloaded here. If you have experience working for a member programme – our membership is now 120, up from 70 organisations two years ago – that’s an added bonus. The Application Form can be downloaded here. The Recruitment Analysis Form can be downloaded here. Closing date Monday 10 July.

Restorative Justice Costings Briefing

The CJA published a briefing on the national cost of a legal entitlement to restorative justice for victims of crime. Taking into account that not all crimes are suitable for restorative justice and using the available polling and research on the demand for restorative justice, we estimate this cost to be £30.5 million annually. The full briefing is available here.

Youth Justice Board

Charlie Taylor has been appointed the new Chair of the Youth Justice Board. The Government is creating a new Youth Custody Service as a distinct arm of HM Prison and Probation Service, which will have operational responsibility for the day-to-day running of the youth estate. Responsibility and accountability for commissioning youth custody services will pass from the YJB to the Ministry of Justice.

Ian Bickers addresses CJA members

Transcript of Ian Bicker’s speech to CJA members about the changes made, successes achieved and lessons learned at HMP Wandsworth since it became a reform prison.

CJA Award Winners 2016


£4,000 prize for most inspiring organisation

BBC News wins accolade for Journalism of the Year

Storybook Dads, the charity enabling 15,000 children every year to hear stories read by their parents from prison, won the top award as Organisation of the Year at last night’s 2016 Criminal Justice Alliance Awards ceremony.


Dame Glenys Stacey addresses CJA members

Summary of Dame Glenys Stacey’s speech to CJA members about her first six months at Chief Inspector of Probation, the role she sees for the Inspectorate and the current state of probation in England and Wales.

CJA Awards Shortlists 2016

The shortlisted nominees for the CJA Awards 2016 have been announced. Judges include Baroness Young of Hornsey, journalist Joshua Rozenberg, Director of Anawim Joy Doal and Mark Johnson, Chief Executive of User Voice.

Criminal Justice Alliance Awards 2016

£4,000, £2,000 & £1,000 prizes for inspiring organisations or individuals. 

New award for journalism promoting ‘better understanding’. 

The 2016 CJA Awards will give prizes of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 to three organisations or individuals who have contributed materially to improving outcomes across the criminal justice pathway, from policing to prisons and probation, in the last 12 months. The Awards, supported for the second year by the Hadley Trust, acknowledge a ‘marked contribution to effectiveness, fairness or new models of delivery’.


Peter Dawson addresses CJA members

Transcript of Peter Dawson’s speech to CJA members about the Prison Reform Trust’s current priorities and his thoughts on the impact recent political decisions might have on penal reform and the prison estate.

David Lammy addresses CJA members

Transcript of David Lammy’s speech to CJA members about his independent Review of black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in the criminal justice system.

‘Structured mayhem’: Experiences of victims, witnesses and defendants in Crown Courts

Structured M
A CJA briefing on the sometimes harrowing experiences of victims, witnesses and defendants in a wide-ranging series of Crown Court cases. Structured Mayhem is a digest of a remarkable piece of research carried by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research. Featuring extensive interviews with court users it furnishes a stark reminder that, for all the progress made in recent years, our courts all too often still cause huge frustration and distress to victims and witnesses, and also defendants.

Justice Select Committee hears evidence from the CJA on Criminal Courts Charge

The Justice Committee held its first evidence session on its inquiry into courts and tribunals fees and charges on Tuesday 27 October. Our Director, Ben Summerskill, gave evidence alongside CJA members Phil Bowen, Director of the Centre for Justice Innovation, and Penelope Gibbs, Director of Transform Justice, as well as Frances Crook, Director of the Howard League for Penal Reform. Richard Monkhouse and Malcolm Richardson from the Magistrates’ Association also gave evidence.

A video of the session is available here.


President of the Supreme Court addresses CJA members

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, addressed the members of the CJA at our offices with a speech entitled “Fairness in the Courts: The Best We Can Do” followed by a Q&A session. A transcript of both is available here.

An Agenda for the New Government

On the 10th March the Criminal Justice Alliance held a conference in Fitzwilliam College Cambridge entitled An Agenda for a New Government. It offered the opportunity to review what is effective and to recommend potential solutions for the new government to consider in order to achieve a fairer and more effective criminal justice system. This one day conference focused on developing ideas and messages for the new government looking in particular at desistance approaches, problem solving courts and Justice reinvestment. Speakers included:

  • Sir Alan Beith MP , Chair of the Justice Committee
  • Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms, University of Cambridge
  • Phil Bowen, Director, Centre for Justice Innovation
  • Penelope Gibbs, Director, Transform Justice
  • Nick Hardwick CBE, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
  • Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Director, National Research Institute of Legal Policy,  Helsink
  • Richard Monkhouse JP, Chair of the Magistrates Association
  • Nicola Padfield University of Cambridge
  • Professor Lawrence Sherman, University of Cambridge


Prison Fellowship: A Prisoner’s Journey

27 June – A conference exploring the support that the Church provides to prisoners at the various stages of their journey. Speakers include Penny Parker (Interim CEO, Prison Fellowship), Jonathan Aitken, Paul Cowley and Michael Spurr. Click here to book a place.

The Forgiveness Project: Annual Lecture

23 June – This year the main speaker is Karen Armstrong, giving a lecture “Forgiveness and Compassion: Is there a difference?” that focuses on why we must place compassion at the heart of public discourse on religion and morality. Further details here.

Safe Ground: Annual Symposium, Great Minds

10 June – This workshop will assess developments in alternatives to custody in the UK since 2000 and identify good national practice and areas for concern. For further details click here.

Prospects for a Desistance Agenda

The Criminal Justice Alliance has published a new paper, Prospects for a Desistance Agenda. Drawing on interviews with over twenty policymakers, and analysis of official publications, this report considers where desistance stands at present, the barriers that may limit its further progress and the opportunities and risks afforded by current developments. The findings suggest that desistance has made its way directly and indirectly into UK policy and practice and it would appear that its influence is growing. The research found that desistance theories’ greatest strength was seen to be their common sense appeal. Developing relationships between practitioners and offenders and involving offenders in the design of their rehabilitative plans seemed extremely logical. Freeing up discretion and reducing bureaucracy was also viewed as particularly attractive. However, the political focus on risk and public protection alongside the appetite for imprisonment may at times conflict with a desistance agenda. Robust evidence of the effectiveness of desistance-oriented practice would reassure policymakers, as would proven cost-effectiveness. The report recommends: promoting and utilising offender strengths, both through policy and practice; training staff to focus on developing appropriate relationships; and involving and supporting families in the desistance process. The report can be read in full here with an executive summary available here.