Express & Star

Star comment: Criminal justice system in need of reform

The most important thing to do when things are going wrong is to face up to the reality that change is required.

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The Government might wish to do that now, in respect of the criminal justice system.

Quite apart from the unnecessary and damaging delays that beset the system, our penal system is in need of reform.

The Government is focused on making progress to reduce the level of reoffending, but much more must be done. Nearly a fifth of criminals reoffend within a year of being convicted or released - a figure that is much too high.

The rehabilitation of offenders is a difficult process. We must remain focused on the need to provide punishment and correction for those who err, most of all for those guilty of serious crimes.

The UK must not become soft or pander to those nefarious individuals who have caused damage to innocent victims.

Even so, the need to rehabilitate offenders is in all of our best interests. Breaking the chain in criminal activity, persuading people that there are better paths in life than criminality, and cutting the cost that comes with incarceration are all important steps.

Reducing the risk of creating further victims, however, is the overriding priority and protecting the public, by reforming prisoners, is essential

We must continue to invest to ensure progress continues and our communities become safer places to live and work.

A balance of carrot and stick is necessary.


Youngsters across the region are nervously awaiting exam results over the next couple of weeks.

They have given their best as they look to achieve good grades that will help them move forward into the adult world.

Some will fly and achieve the grades of their dreams as they secure places in further or higher education. Others will experience disappointment as their grades do not reflect the expectations they might have had.

There is a lot of talk about grades being lower this year following a return to pre-pandemic marking. But for the individuals and their parents, this is a stressful time as they wait.

Whatever the outcome, exams are never the make-or-break moment that some youngsters imagine. There are plenty of further opportunities for those who struggle, while those who succeed are taking but one step on a long road through life.