Influencing the Penal Agenda? The Justice Select Committee and ‘Transforming Justice’, 2010–15

Birkett, G. (2018). Influencing the Penal Agenda? The Justice Select Committee and ‘Transforming Justice’, 2010–15. The Political Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/1467-923X.12480

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Abstract

This article assesses the policy influence of the House of Commons Justice Select Committee, established to oversee the work of the Ministry of Justice following its creation a decade ago. The Committee has, from the outset, overseen many contentious policy and legislative developments in the penal field, although none so extensive as those introduced following the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government in 2010. Despite the newsworthy nature of its business, the Committee has, to some extent, operated in the shadows of its high-profile sister, the Home Affairs Select Committee, and has received surprisingly limited attention from criminologists and political scientists alike. Forming part of a wider investigation into the work of the Committee, this article examines the extent to which it was able to influence penal developments during the Coalition years. This period is of particular interest given that it heralded the end of the New Labour administration and welcomed the ‘fresh thinking’ of a Coalition leadership keen to emphasise its progressive attitude towards law and order. While the Committee was able to influence the direction of penal policy on several occasions this mostly occurred as a result of its proactive or niche inquiries. The Committee had less impact when conducting inquiries that assessed the government’s flagship policy agenda, however. Such findings brought into question the ability of the Committee to influence the most significant justice transformations in this era of new penal governance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Birkett, G. (2018) Influencing the Penal Agenda? The Justice Select Committee and ‘Transforming Justice’, 2010–15. The Political Quarterly which is to be published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1467-923X. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Justice Select Committee, Parliamentary oversight, political influence, Coalition government, Transforming Rehabilitation.
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/18900

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