Developments in criminal justice policies and legislative practices in the UK

Ursula Smartt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Following governmental changes in Great Britain with an incoming new Labour government in 1997, this paper will focus on new criminal justice policies and legislative changes, which have accelerated the number of arrests, convictions and therein the prison population of England and Wales. With the government's targeting particularly persistent young offenders, and the demonising of children, post the conviction of two ten-year olds for the murder of young Jamie Bulger in 1994, subsequent legislation, such as abolishing of the doctrine of doli incapax, and harsh penal policy ('No more excuses' and 'Zero tolerance') will be examined. Arguments for and against this kind of devolution will be complemented by giving an insight into the British media's hard sell of certain crimes, such as youth and race crimes (murders of Stephen Lawrence and Damilola Taylor) or paedophilia (murder of Sarah Payne). The paper will offer an analysis of legislative changes, which have taken place, and in spite of recent trends in falling in crime (British Crime Survey 2001) concentrate on noticeably marked increase in public fear of crime. With the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK legislation by means of the Human Rights Act 1998 (on 2 October 2000), attention will be drawn to some early implications. How a form of intolerance post the terrorist attacks in the US on 11th September 2001 has arisen with legislative proposals post the Terrorism Act 2000 will be highlighted on one hand, and a tolerance towards drugs on the other with the proposed de-classification of Cannabis will also be discussed. In summary, an exclusive overview of criminal justice policies of the 1990s, reflecting exclusionary legislation (Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994; Prevention from Harassment Act 1997; Crime and Disorder Act 1998), will be reflected on with an emphasis on law enforcement and punishment at the start of the 21st century.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2002
Event2nd Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology - Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain
Duration: 4 Sept 20027 Sept 2002


Conference2nd Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology
CityUniversidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo


Dive into the research topics of 'Developments in criminal justice policies and legislative practices in the UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this