Following on from the Spending Review, The Guardian claims that one in five prison and probation officers will lose their jobs - see "Policing and Criminal Justice cut by 20%." Even if The Guardian's headline claim is rather simplistic - (since x% off a budget does not necessarily equate to x% staff) - the impact is likely to be severe. It is little use seeking to send more offenders on community sentences if the various programmes are not properly manned by well-qualified and experienced personnel. The delivery of quality community programmes will be even more essential if the confidence of the judges, magistracy and the general public is to be maintained.
In the Family Justice Area, the government has announced that fees charged to local authorities for bringing care proceedings will not be abolished pending the outcome of the Family Justice Review which is looking at reforms to the handling of both public and private law family cases. The Solicitor's Journal carries the story.
Footnote: The building pictured above is Salford Magistrates' Court which the Ministry of Justice has included in the proposals for closures. Although Salford is a distinct city to Manchester and has its own proud history it will end up without a magistrates' court. The principal reason seems to be that there is no money to refurbish this fine old building. The outcome will be that two cities will share what is now Manchester City Magistrates' Court which is just about managing to cope at present with Manchester's work.
Addendum 26th October: It now seems that Salford Council are putting forward a proposal which may save Salford Magistrates Court - see BBC. A solution along the lines suggested would make eminent good sense. The alternative would be closure of a "listed" building which would rapidly deteriorate and become an eyesore in central Salford.