Local Criminal Justice Boards and CJS agencies will be hosting mock trials, court open days, drop in workshops for BME people and careers fairs in a week of activity geared to increasing knowledge of and participation in the CJS. (www.cjsonline.gov.uk/insidejustice)
The week comes in light of research that shows that Black and minority ethnic groups actually have higher confidence in the justice system compared to other groups. However they are much less likely to think that it treats people fairly.
Inside Justice Week also honours the outstanding work of CJS staff and volunteers who are currently working in diverse areas such as race hate and community liason. The annual Justice Awards will take place in London on Monday 5 November.
The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, who has championed Inside Justice Week since its inception said:
“Last year we ran nearly 150 events during Inside Justice Week throughout England and Wales where people were able to learn, contribute and understand about the Criminal Justice System and their part in it.
“Nominations for the Justice Awards have increased three fold and come from frontline staff. Those recognised as part of the Justice Awards are examples of the very best the CJS has to offer.
“The figures only tell part of the story; the Criminal Justice System is going through a great deal of change and initiatives like this help us demonstrate how we are bringing more offenders to justice, putting victims and witnesses at the heart of the Criminal Justice System and working with communities for the benefit of all.”
The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith said:
“As Home Secretary I want people to feel safe in their homes and on the streets and we have made great strides to ensure that happens. Violent crime is at its lowest level for more than a decade and the chances of being a victim of crime are at their lowest for 25 years.
“The Criminal Justice System has played a major role in these successes and campaigns like Inside Justice Week really help us highlight just how much progress has been made.
“We are building an efficient, effective and proportionate Criminal Justice System to protect the public from terrorism, crime and anti-social behaviour. It is important that through the Justice Awards we recognise the excellent, often unsung work done on both the frontline and behind the scenes to demonstrate the real difference we are making to people’s lives.”
The aim of this year’s Inside Justice Week is to open up the Criminal Justice system to the public in order to:
• increase BME people’s knowledge and understanding of the Criminal Justice System
• encourage people from a diverse range of ehtnic backgounds to get involved by publicising the range of career and volunteering opportunities available in the Criminal Justice System
• inform communities about the support available should they come into contact with the justice system as a victim or witness of crime.