CREST Profile picture
30 Oct, 18 tweets, 4 min read
THREAD: A perfect storm: why the criminal justice system is facing an existential crisis

New analysis from Crest suggests that criminal court capacity in England & Wales will need to double to stop the backlog of cases growing to an unmanageable level over the next 4 years Lady justice holding COVID-...
Based on official data, Crest’s modelling projects that current trajectories will mean:
🔵 The Crown Court backlog will quadruple from c.45.5K cases in 2019 to c.195.5K cases by 2024.
🔵 The magistrates’ courts backlog will rise from c.58.6K cases in 2019 to c.580.3K cases by 2024 – increasing by a factor of 10. Projected Crown Court and m...
To stabilise the backlog, Crest’s model projects that court capacity needs to double. However, although increasing court capacity is clearly necessary, by itself it is not a panacea to the backlog.
The model suggests that the other levers that could be pulled are:
🔵 decreasing the amount of time it takes for cases to complete and;
🔵 decreasing the flow of cases coming into the courts in the first place.
If court capacity across England & Wales was doubled from 2019 levels over the next 12 months, our model suggests that the backlog would stabilise at 71.5K cases in the Crown Court and at 208.5K cases in the magistrates’ court.
However, it would still be 1.5 times larger in the Crown Court and 3.5 times larger in magistrates’ courts than before Covid-19. Projected Crown Court and m...
Crest’s modelling has been published as part of our research into the impact of #COVID19 on the #CJS as a whole. It is based on a new ‘stock and flow’ model of how cases progress from
charging by the police or Crown Prosecution Service, through the courts, to prisons and probation.
The modelling takes into account the impact of Covid-19 on the pre-existing backlog of 104K cases across the Crown Court and magistrates’ courts and a number of other factors including:
🔵 the expected increase in the detection of crimes due to the 20K increase in police officers;
🔵 the likely rise in long-term unemployment due to the economic impact of Covid-19;
🔵 the long-term rise in police recorded crime based on historical trends for the past 5 years;
🔵 current time frames for dealing with cases at court.
The model also shows that improving performance in one part of the CJS will place other parts of it under severe pressure. Just as the uplift in police officer numbers is placing the courts under pressure, if the backlog was stabilised by 2024,
the prison population will increase by 34%, suspended sentences will have increased by 24%, post-release supervision increased by 30% and community sentence orders increased by 14%.
A joined up strategy for improving justice performance is urgently required, which is jointly owned by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice.
To find out more about the project or to get in touch, see:
Read the findings in full here:
In its next phase, the project will consult a ‘citizens jury’, representative of UK demographics, on how the CJS could be reformed to address the backlog and other problems.
Thread to follow shortly which explains the assumptions in detail.

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More from @CrestAdvisory

18 Dec
What's on the cards for crime & justice in 2021 / Danny Shaw

2020. A year most of us would rather forget, and a year when the cracks in the criminal justice system were brutally exposed.

[Thread] Prison officer with keys in...
As #COVID19 took hold, courts closed, causing a lengthy backlog of criminal cases to extend even further; offender rehabilitation work was sharply curtailed, with prisoners locked in cells for 23 hours a day;
police had to enforce unprecedented, and rapidly changing restrictions on our liberty, placing them in situations none of us could have anticipated 12 months ago.
Read 8 tweets

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