Sunday, 21 August 2011

Cutting back on justice

The mark of a caring, civilised society is its criminal justice system. And with thousands of civil servants doing their best to help provide one, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has attacked the government’s proposed 25%+ cuts in it saying; “Hacking away at our justice system, instead of investing and providing proper resources, will only damage our social fabric and add to society's problems.”

The union believes slashing £350 million from the £914 million annual civil and family legal aid budget by 2014 will have a devastating impact, hitting a quarter of those who seek civil legal aid. Similarly, the closure of 93 magistrates' courts and 42 county courts will lead to hundreds of job losses and backlogs in the court process, making local justice less accessible. And whilst the PCS wants to see prison numbers reduced that can only be done with rehabilitation programmes that improve dealings with people with mental health, drug and alcohol issues.

"Hoping people can fend for themselves is not the mark of a caring society. We should be improving people's chances of accessing reliable local services, not making it more difficult and trying to provide justice on the cheap" said Serwotka. 

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