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How far have we really come in our attitude towards poverty and debt?

Decriminalising the non-payment of TV licences and council tax

Some time ago, an article by Rona Epstein on council tax debt was published in the magazine Ready, Steady, Go! produced by Women In Prison distributed to all women’s prisons. It explained the law about council tax debt. Melanie, a single mother from Porthcawl in Wales, who was in poor health and in financial difficulties,Continue reading “Decriminalising the non-payment of TV licences and council tax”

Criminalising rough sleeping and begging

The Vagrancy Act 1824: criminalising rough sleeping and begging There are many strands linking homelessness and the criminal justice system. Ex-prisoners struggle to access accommodation on release. They often lose their homes while in custody – sometimes being accused of having made themselves ‘intentionally homeless’. The Prison Reform Trust reports that six in ten femaleContinue reading “Criminalising rough sleeping and begging”

Righting wrongs: Access to criminal appeals for women in prison

Naima Sakande 18 June 2020 I am a criminal defence investigator at APPEAL, a non-profit law practice, specialising in challenging wrongful convictions and unfair sentences for women in criminal cases. Despite abundant reporting on the unjust and damaging nature of short sentences (see here, here and here), I have always found it difficult to convince women sentenced to short stintsContinue reading “Righting wrongs: Access to criminal appeals for women in prison”

Is it a crime to be poor?

Claire Cain 3 February 2020 The great Angela Davis wrote in Are Prisons Obsolete?: The prison therefore functions ideologically as an abstract site into which undesirables are deposited, relieving us of the responsibility of thinking about the real issues afflicting those communities from which prisoners are drawn in such dispro­portionate numbers. This is the ideological workContinue reading “Is it a crime to be poor?”

Prisons and the mentally ill: the need to look beyond punitiveness

By Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay 20 January 2020 Tougher criminal justice sanctions are often advocated by politicians who say this reflects public opinion on how to treat criminals, but this is only part of the story. Many do support cost-effective, rehabilitative options over punishment. Indeed, this seems to be reflected in opinion polls suggesting a large majority of theContinue reading “Prisons and the mentally ill: the need to look beyond punitiveness”

The Supreme Court decision – detaining asylum seekers was unlawful

By Rona Epstein 15 January 2020 On 27 November 2019, the Supreme Court gave judgment in R (Hemmati and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] UKSC 56. Five individuals arrived in the UK illegally and claimed asylum; two from Iraq, two from Afghanistan and one from Iran. Two had already claimed asylum inContinue reading “The Supreme Court decision – detaining asylum seekers was unlawful”

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