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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Criminal justice reform: At-a-glance
Old Bailey scales of justice
"End-to-end" revamp of system says Blunkett
Here are the main points of the Home Secretary David Blunkett's White Paper on reform of the criminal justice system.


Trials

  • Reveal defendants' previous convictions "where relevant"
  • Scrap double jeopardy so that "in grave cases where compelling new evidence has come to light, an acquitted defendant can be tried for a second time for the same offence"
  • Bring crown courts and magistrates' courts together under a unified administration
  • Increase magistrates sentencing powers from six to 12 months
  • Introduce trial without jury in serious fraud cases where there is a risk of jury intimidation
  • Strengthen youth courts to deal with young offenders accused of serious crimes
  • Provide more incentives for early guilty pleas to save court time
  • Make "hearsay" evidence admissible

Victims

  • A national strategy for victims and witnesses to be published later this year
  • A new Independent Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses supported by a National Victims Advisory Panel
  • More measures for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses including pre-recorded video evidence and screens around the witness box
  • Volunteers to accompany victims when giving statements
  • Extend support to victims of road traffic incidents and their families
  • Measures to improve preparation of cases against defendants, including closer working between the police and CPS
  • Force defence lawyers to reveal their case in advance, as the prosecution is already required to do

Sentencing

  • A new graded framework to tailor sentences to the offender and the offence
  • Creating "intermittent" jail terms where offenders are only locked up overnight or at weekends, allowing the offender to continue working and maintain family ties
  • Developing "custody plus" schemes where offenders serve a short prison sentence - between 14 days and three months - followed by a community work of at least six months
  • The power to lock up dangerous, sexual or violent offenders indefinitely, even if they do not have a life sentence
  • Releasing young offenders locked up for serious offences at halfway point of the sentence and supervised until the end of sentence

Punishment and rehabilitation

  • Greater flexibility to probation officers to drug test offenders on release from custody
  • Pilot the "Going Straight" contract, a new rehabilitation programme for 18-20 year olds including reparation to victims and incentives to participate
  • Review reception and release procedures for all prisoners to ensure departing prisoners have the appropriate help to resettle
  • Modernise prisons to increase capacity, build new "multi-functional community prisons", close unfit prisons
  • Shut down or contract out prisons which do not meet tough new standards

Public involvement

  • Improve communication between criminal justice agencies and the public
  • Continue to implement the findings of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry in order to reduce racism in the system
  • Clampdown on middle-class professionals who try to avoid jury service for work reasons

  • Make sure juries reflect all sections of society and are better supported
  • Raise the profile of magistrates and encourage more people to apply from as wide a cross-section of the community as possible
  • Increase restorative justice schemes, where criminals are made to face their victims

Fighting and reducing crime
  • Extend the range of restraining orders
  • Provide anonymity for victims of domestic violence
  • Improve liaison between the civil and criminal courts and the family and criminal courts
  • More help for drug-addicted offenders
  • Extend drug testing provisions to the under 18s
Other changes

  • 600m investment in information technology
  • Set up 42 local Criminal Justice Boards reporting to a new national Criminal Justice Board
  • Streamline court service management into one body
  • Establish a new independent courts inspectorate with jurisdiction over the administration of crown courts
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Home Secretary David Blunkett
"I want to strike the right balance between justice for victims and the rights of those on trial"
Find out more about criminal justice reforms proposed for England and Wales

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