Thursday, September 30, 2010

Welsh Assembly Investigates PTSD with Veterans

This link shows a Welsh Assembly Health meeting addressing Veterans and issues associated with offending, PTSD and mental health provision. For those with any interest in this subject, the film is well worth watching.

To view the meeting, use this link in your browser and click on Items 3 - 6

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prison Reform Report - Punishing Disadvantage

Punishing disadvantage

This introduction is copied from the Prison Reform Trust web site -

The Prison Reform Trust has just launched its You Gov Poll report regarding the punishment of children. A census of nearly 6,000 children who entered custody in the second half of 2008 analysed the offences for which children were imprisoned, with results showing that three-fifths of the children sentenced to custody were convicted of crimes which usually result in community sentences, with half imprisoned for non-violent crimes.

A detailed analysis of family and social circumstances revealed the multiple layers of complex disadvantage many of the children had experienced. Three quarters had had absent fathers, a quarter had been in care, one in five children had harmed themselves, and one in nine had attempted suicide.

The report, the most comprehensive of its kind in 25 years, comes at the
same time that a YouGov poll confirmed that nearly two-thirds of the public think the minimum age of imprisonment, currently 10 years old, is too low, with a further two-thirds in favour of raising the minimum age of imprisonment for non-violent crimes to at least 14 years old.

You can download a summary briefing of the report and the YouGov poll here -

If we are to reduce re-offending, we must address the causes. Failure to do so will only result in more crime, social exclusion and increasing costs.

Mental Health of Veterans Leading to Offending

Last night Channel 4 News showed a very disturbing item regarding the increasingly large number of US Army veterans who are suffering with mental illness, post their operational experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. The piece highlighted how these issues are often leading to family breakup, alcohol abuse and crime. The cost of helping these men and women is growing by the week.

Whilst the UK numbers are clearly fewer, they are growing, with charities like Combat Stress being stretched to keep up with demand. More resources are undoubtedly required to help veterans and their familes overcome the trauma of war. Failue to do so will result in increasing costs to the Justice System, Health and Social Services.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Churchill anniversary speech: criminal justice reform - Part 2

Churchill Speech by the Justice Minister - Rt Hon Crispin Blunt MP

Although delivered in July, it is worth reminding ourselves as to what Crispin Blunt said about his vision for promoting change, with a focus on the reduction of re-offending - For anyone who cares about addressing the causes of crime, this speech is well worth reading and provides hope for the future -

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Understanding the impact upon Families of Veteran Offenders

In recognising the increasing number of veterans entering the justice system, let us not forget the impact this also has upon the families. Not only have family members personally endured the long and anxious periods of absence during operational tours, anticipating the dreaded telephone call or knock on the door, they have also seen how their loved one (husband / son / brother / sister) has changed and struggled to come to terms with their experiences. To then see them fall by the way side and enter the criminal justice system, one can only try to imagine the enormous and damaging impact it must have on their children and other family members.

Having risked their lives and endured so much for their country, this situation cannot be right. Any Military Covenant must surely recognise these issues and undertake to address them.