The Church of England has taken an active part in responding to the Government's reform of the criminal justice system. We engage in regular dialogue with officials and ministers from the Home Office and have submitted responses on the following issues:
July 2004, General Synod debated a report
Sentencing on Restorative Justice and carried a motion, 275 votes to none.
The review of the future of the correctional services Reducing Crime, Changing Lives in February 2004 (Managing Offenders).
The response to the White Paper Respect and Responsibility: Taking A Stand Against Anti Social Behaviour in June 2003
The review of the Criminal Courts by Lord Justice Auld in January 2002
The review of Sentencing (Making Punishments Work)in October 2001
The Social Exclusion Unit's review of reoffending by ex-prisoners in June 2001
The Sexual Offences review ( Setting the Boundaries) in February 2001
The Church of England is a full member of the Churches' Criminal Justice Forum. CCJF makes its own submissions to Government and also engages in work on the resettlement of prisoners, women's prisons and visiting. It also has a Criminal Justice and a Policy Officer who engage in educational work with church congregations.
General Synod Motion July 2004
Rethinking Sentencing on Restorative Justice
'That this Synod
(a) commend the report Rethinking Sentencing as a valuable contribution to the debate over penal policy;
(b) welcome Her Majesty's Government's proposals to promote and develop restorative justice as a significant feature of its strategy to limit re-offending;
(c) express dismay at the ever-rising prison population, which limits the effectiveness of programmes to reduce re-offending, to rehabilitate offenders, and provide healing for victims of crime;
(d) re-affirm the ministry of Christians within the criminal justice system, especially those in Prison Service Chaplaincy, the Churches' Criminal Justice Forum (CCJF), the lay magistracy and the many voluntary Christian organisations working with offenders and victims; and
(e) encourage Church members to embrace criminal justice as a cause for prayer and Christian concern and - where able - to involve themselves in practical initiatives.'