Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice

Published Thursday, September 24, 2015

This POSTnote describes crime patterns, and highlights issues with crime measurement and data. It also identifies key developments in the criminal justice system.

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Behaviours are criminalised through legislation or judicial decision, and this is influenced by public attitudes. Crime is widely considered to be falling but the data underpinning this trend are highly complex.

  • Verifying the impact of crime depends on consideration of changing crime patterns and the demand crime places on the criminal justice system.
  • Prison populations are increasing while crime is declining; thought in part to reflect changes to sentencing and policy.
  • Key reforms of the criminal justice system are in progress, such as the introduction of ‘payment by results’ in the probation service.

POSTnotes POST-PN-0507

Authors: Sarah Bunn; Leila Jameel

Topics: Administration of justice, Alternatives to prison, Anti-social behaviour, Central government, Crime, Criminal law, Prisons, Science

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The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.