The criminal justice system embodies and reflects our cultural ideas around what justice is. Sadly our world criminal justice systems do not have values that are good for those caught up in it or society itself. Our work is centred on improving the system and ensuring the voices of those inside it are heard.
We assisted the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) with an Inquiry into the court modernisation process that introduced new technology into Courts in England, Wales and Scotland from 2019-2021. The Inquiry sought to understand the extent to which adult defendants with cognitive impairments, mental health conditions and/or neuro-diverse conditions can participate equally and effectively in criminal proceedings against them. Our work included a legal and literature review, and an extensive mapping and surveying exercise of police, prisons and courts practice across Great Britain.
From 2016 to 2017 we worked with RISE Mutual on an evaluation of their innovative new Whole Prison Approach aiming to deliver outcomes for staff and prisoners within a ‘Reform Prison’. We used a mixed method approach of interviews, questionnaires, pre-and post intervention data captures to measure the achievement of outcomes such as self-esteem, empathy and staff morale.
Justice Studio conducted a scoping study into older people as victims of abuse in the UK for Independent Age. We carried out research, a legal review and a data analysis of all relevant prosecution and sentencing data by victim type, consulted with key stakeholders and undertook a SWOT analysis of possible and potential policy and campaigns work in this area.
We have worked to improve worldwide criminal justice practice since our inception in 2011. Key projects include:
Justice Studio has been commissioned a number of times to work with the Turkish Ministry of Justice via UNICEF Turkey. We provided technical assistance to the Directorate General for Prisons and Detention Houses Probation Department on two occasions. We assisted the department to enhancing the child probation system through conditional release and provided oversight and guidance on the up-scaling of Turkey’s case-management programme for children in detention.
In 2016 we facilitated a conference in Astana, Kazakhstan for senior prison, human rights and religion officials on the challenge of radicalisation in prisons in Central Asia for Penal Reform International (PRI). We worked with senior Kazakh officials and international experts to produce a report with a recognition of the centrality of human rights and international covenants and instruments.
For Terre des hommes (Tdh) in Afghanistan we undertook an analytical study of community and professionals’ attitudes towards the use of alternatives to detention for children in conflict with the law. We outlined recommendations to the Government of Afghanistan on increasing the use of alternatives to detention and the potential for existing community resources to support them enabling the Government of Afghanistan to implement and enhance provision of alternatives to detention for children.