The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 11th February

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 11th February

Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week:

Criminal Justice

Reported by Paige Waters

Should brain injury screening be routine in convictions?

The Disabilities Trust and Royal Holloway carried out research at Drake Hall prison in Staffordshire. The research was based around prisoners at a women’s jail where they answered questions about blows to the head. It was found that 64% gave answers consistent with having symptoms of a brain injury. Of these 64%, 96% of women suggested that these arose from physical trauma. 62% of these women said they had sustained their brain injury through domestic violence.

This research has carried on and progressed from previous research which was conducted in both 2010 and 2012.

In 2010 a study of 200 male adult prisoners found 60% had suffered a head injury. In 2012 the university of Exeter described traumatic brain injury as a “silent epidemic”.

This research has suggested traumatic brain injury has a consequential effect as it has a link with potentially increasing the likelihood of violent behaviour, criminal convictions, mental health problems and suicide attempts.  

The Disabilities Trust commented on the research, stating: “the needs of somebody in prison with traumatic brain injury are likely to be complex, and the lack of understanding and identification of a brain injury results in a higher risk of custody and reoffending.” This was supported through the study as 33% of the women had sustained their first injury prior to their first offence.

Find out more here.

Criminal Law

Reported by Emma Ducroix

University’s Scheme to Tackle Crime Rate

The Nottingham Trent University will take in charge a program with the aim of rehabilitate sex offenders. This one will consist in teaching skills to criminals plus help them to create a new social circle.

This program will obviously be backed by police but according to the strategy’s advocates, even if the project is controversial, the re-offending rates should reduce.

Support will be given to them in order to find a job with an employment training learning how to make a CV, make new friends, discover new hobbies or learning basic skills such as cooking. The aim is to integrate those people back to society and prevent them committing other crimes.

The Professor at the head of this scheme, Belinda Winder declared: “We want to make sure they won’t reoffend because they will have found a niche in society, a way of reintegrating”.

“It’s for people who feel desperate, lonely and so on. A vicious circle which can contribute to reoffending. We are going to break that vicious cycle, but it’s difficult to know if people are going to be able to stomach this.”

The expectations of this program is to fully integrate sex offender back into society without any problems. Whereas, reports seem to demonstrate that programs lead to more reoffending. It was the case with the Treatment Program for England and Wales.

In the words of researchers, male sex offenders are more likely to commit crimes, and programs did not challenge at all the behavior of those criminals.

“If we can rehabilitate offenders and support them as they return to live in the community, they will be safer and less likely to reoffend. This in turn means there will be fewer victims of sexual abuse and harm,” according to Winder.

The centre will be launched this week and it is considerate as a « much needed resource » for the university.

Winder added: “We’re giving people somewhere to go to help them to build a better new life, to get the support they want.”

She added that two other UK regions had already expressed interest in adopting the model.

Here is some figures that will perhaps persuade you to set up programs of rehabilitation to stop crimes:

  • 10-14%: The re-offending rate for sex offenders in England and Wales
  • 121,000: The number of sexual offenses recorded by police in England and Wales in the year ending March 2017
  • 14%: The increase in the number of sexual offenses compared with 2016, the highest since the Sexual Offenses Act was introduced in 2003

Reported by Nathan Gore

Prime Minister confirms no delay for Brexit 

Theresa May has played down rumours and suggestions that she might offer an option to MPs that would result in a delay to Brexit.

On Tuesday, May told business leaders that extending the Article 50 process, and delaying the date whereby the UK leaves the EU (currently 29 March), would serve no useful purpose.

She appeared to be contradicted, however, by reports that Olly Robbins was overheard in a Brussels bar saying the EU was likely to allow an extension to the Brexit process.

If this were the case, then it would mean that the PM would be likely to offer an extension to Article 50’s withdrawal process to MPs, as an alternative to her proposed deal.

The PM, for her part, has suggested that MPs should not rely on “what someone said to someone else as overheard by someone else, in a bar”.

“It is very clear the government’s position is the same,” she said.

“We triggered Article 50 (the process by which the UK leaves the EU)… that had a two-year time limit, that ends on the 29 March.

“We want to leave with a deal, and that’s what we are working for.”

What is still of concern, though, is the fact that the Prime Minister has said she will lift the requirement for a 21-day period before any vote to approve an international treaty. This would then lead to the possibility of her delaying the final Brexit vote until days before the UK is due to leave the EU.

Read more here and here.

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