Ministry of justice

A ‘hard rain’ is needed at the Ministry of Justice

When was the last time you read about a cabinet minister saying officials had him ‘played for a fool’? Our Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland, is nobody’s fool but he’s certainly had the mushroom treatment when it comes to conditions at the privately-run Rainsbrook secure children’s unit. It’s a sign of a much deeper cultural malaise familiar to all of us who once worked for the Ministry of Justice or its agencies.  A report into Rainsbrook’s operation released this week by the Commons Justice Select Committee exhausted superlatives when it described the incompetence of the contractor running the unit and its legions of state monitors, which allowed the institution to lock youngsters

Non-fatal strangulation needs to be a more serious offence

Imagine this: you are a victim of domestic violence, and your partner regularly strangles you to the point of unconsciousness. During each attack you think you are about to die. You lose control of your bladder during these attacks, and afterwards find it hard to speak, feeling like you have swallowed broken glass. You suffer from flashbacks and live in fear of the next attack, imagining that this time you will never regain consciousness. Being strangled during a domestic violence attack is as common as it is terrifying. Police routinely fail to recognise its seriousness. Non-fatal strangulation is often charged as the minor offence of common assault and it is often not

The nightmare scenario of a coronavirus prison outbreak

Scared about coronavirus as you go about your everyday life? Spare a thought for those living and working inside our battered prison system. In Italy yesterday the anxiety that underpins all incarceration suddenly exploded into violence. Rioting left six prisoners dead, staff were taken hostage, dozens escaped and one prison in Poggioreale near Naples was ‘completely destroyed’. The ferocious backlash was in response to tough new measures introduced across the country to try to slow the relentless progress of Covid-19. These included a ban on the all-important prisoner family visits, which are seen by experts as dramatically increasing the risk of contagion in places almost wholly unsuited to withstand its effects. Italy has