The Criminal Justice and Human Rights Centre is a group of researchers, practitioners and community members studying the ‘justice’ in the criminal justice system.
We are interested in addressing the multiple challenges facing criminal justice, both nationally and internationally. A well-functioning criminal justice system is of critical importance to jurisdictions the world over but the problems faced currently are well reported and urgent.
In the United Kingdom funding cuts, delays, bias and inequality of access to justice reflect structural issues that highlight the need for an evidence-based drive for reform.
At the international level, challenges include the significant tensions between the emancipatory potential of international criminal justice and the limitations of sovereignty and realpolitik, which may lead to significant accountability gaps.
We drive an agenda for change that is grounded in multi-disciplinary research but also in the experiences of lawyers, police, prosecutors, judges and those with lived experience of the criminal justice system.
The Criminal Justice and Human Rights Centre, brings together key voices from the criminal justice sector and from academia nationally and internationally:
- Researchers (from multiple disciplines including law, criminology, sociology, psychology)
- Practitioners (police, judiciary, prosecutors and defence lawyers)
- Campaigners (including leading organisations such as The Howard League, Clinks, Transform Justice)
- Citizens who have lived experience of criminal justice or a personal connection to those with lived experience of criminal justice.
- Analyse – through rigorous scholarship we measure the scale of the crisis and investigate its most pressing issues
- Reform – to provide a platform for researchers, practitioners and the sector to use our co-created understanding of the issues to advance criminal justice reform
- Activate – to raise awareness of criminal justice issues by centring and giving a voice to those with lived experience and knowledge of the criminal justice crisis
- Connect – to combine a practical with a research based approach thus allowing theory to inform policy and practice
- Communicate – to share research findings, practical perspectives and specialist knowledge whether practical or policy based through publication, conferences, seminar series and workshops.
At the Criminal Justice and Human Rights Centre we place our students at the heart of everything that we do. We believe that giving students impactful experience of criminal justice to complement their core LLB and criminology studies enriches their education and training and encourages the next generation of criminal justice professionals and advocates. In particular we want to:
- Partner with leading criminal justice voluntary sector organisations to convene seminars, workshops and speaker events for students
- Offer a designated mentoring programme with our active criminal justice practitioners
- Support our PhD students in criminology and criminal law with workshops, research methods training and encourage them to use the Criminal Justice and Human Rights Centre to as a platform to showcase their research.
- Penal policy reform. Focusing on selective decarceration and issues surrounding the over use of incarceration for example via increases in remand and recall to custody and imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences
- International criminal justice and human rights. Focusing on the rights of vulnerable communities who fall through the net of international justice.
- Women’s justice. Focusing on gender and criminal justice – how the criminal law and criminal justice process discriminates against women
- Communicating Justice. Focussing on how government, pressure groups and researchers communicate ‘justice’ information publicly, how it is reported and what impact it has on policy making.