Manifesto 2019:Rebuild our Public Services - Justice

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Smarter justice requires cross-government action to reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences and to break the vicious cycle of poverty, inequality and crime.

We will champion a joined-up approach, fostering close working relationships between criminal justice agencies with education authorities, health services and others by establishing violence-reduction units and ensuring vulnerable people get the support they need by boosting public health, mental health and early years services. Prison is not the best place to address the drug addictions, mental illnesses and debts that lead many people into crime.

The crisis in our criminal justice system has left communities less safe, victims less supported and people less able to defend their rights. Labour will defend the rule of law.

Cutting thousands of prison officers has driven record levels of prison violence. A Labour government will restore total prison officer numbers to 2010 levels, and phase out dangerous lone working. We will bring PFI prisons back in-house and there will be no new private prisons. We will tackle the prison maintenance backlog and develop a long-term estate strategy.

The Ministry of Justice’s own evidence shows tens of thousands of crimes could be prevented if robust community sentences replace short prison sentences. We will set new standards for community sentences and introduce a presumption against prison sentences of six months or less for non-violent and non-sexual offences.

We will invest in proven alternatives to custody, including women’s centres, expand problem-solving courts and plug the funding gap in the female offender strategy. We will further consider the evidence for effective alternatives and rehabilitation of prolific offenders.

A Labour government will reunify probation and guarantee a publicly run, locally accountable probation service. Under Labour, probation staff and professional standards will once again be properly valued.

Legal aid cuts mean essential legal help is too often denied. To help people enforce their rights, we will restore all early legal aid advice, including for housing, social security, family and immigration cases.

We will recruit hundreds of new community lawyers, promote public legal education and build an expanded network of law centres.

We will ensure legal aid for inquests into deaths in state custody and the preparation of judicial review cases. We will consult on the civil legal aid means-test levels and act on the criminal legal aid review.

We will defend workers’ ability to recover legal representation costs from negligent employers.

We will keep the right for workers to be represented and recover their costs in cases of employer negligence leading to injury at work. We will review the eligibility criteria for the criminal injuries compensation scheme.

A Labour government will halt court closures and cuts to staff, and undertake a review of the courts reform programme. We will facilitate a more representative judiciary while upholding its independence, and review funding for the Crown Prosecution Service.

We will tackle the disproportionate levels of BAME children in custody, review the youth custody estate, strengthen youth courts and build on the Lammy Review.

Violence against women and girls is unacceptable as is many women’s experience of criminal justice agencies. We will set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual abuse and violence, and appoint a Commissioner for Violence against Women and Girls. We will establish an independent review into shamefully low rape prosecution rates. We will establish a National Refuge Fund, ensure financial stability for rape crisis centres and reintroduce a Domestic Abuse Bill.

We will improve the safety of the family court system for domestic violence victims and prohibit their cross-examination by their abuser.

We will introduce protections for victims of so-called revenge porn. Labour will introduce a no-fault divorce procedure. We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions.

We will establish public inquiries into historical injustices including blacklisting and Orgreave, and ensure the second phase of the Grenfell Inquiry has the confidence of all those affected, especially the bereaved families and survivors. We will also consider a public inquiry in the case of Zane Gbangbola.

We will require judicial warrants for undercover operations and retain the Mitting Inquiry into undercover policing.

We will release all papers on the Shrewsbury 24 trials and 37 Cammell Laird shipyard workers and introduce a Public Accountability Bill. We will ensure fair compensation for the victims of contaminated blood products across the UK.