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New CSJ study to shake-up response to poverty

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has officially marked the start of a landmark study that will look at the causes of social breakdown in Britain and recommend a series of robust policies to tackle poverty.

Breakthrough Britain II, which will run until 2014, will be a forensic examination of the UK’s social fabric and will see CSJ staff take evidence from around the country.

Before officially launching the study this week, the CSJ published some of its recent policing – which showed the majority of British people say at least one of their local communities is plagued by broken families, crime and poor schools. The story was covered in various outlets, including the Daily Express and the Scotsman.

The investigation is a follow-up to the original Breakthrough Britain, published in 2007 – which Prime Minister David Cameron recently said had influenced his Government greatly.

The original Breakthrough Britain review led the CSJ to identify five ‘pathways to poverty’: family breakdown, economic dependency and worklessness, educational failure, drug and alcohol addiction and serious personal debt. It is anticipated Breakthrough Britain II, which will revisit these same ‘pathways’ as well as looking at the voluntary sector and how it responds to poverty, will have a significant impact on the main three party manifestos ahead of the 2015 General Election.

The CSJ will be delighted to hear from anyone who thinks they can bring innovative ideas to the Breakthrough Britain II study or have outstanding projects they want to recommend we look at. We can be contacted at: admin@centreforsocialjustice.org.uk

UK gang culture: arresting people not enough

Tackling the factors that motivate young people to join gangs is essential if we are to reverse a culture of violence in Britain, the CSJ has said.

Christian Guy took part in a BBC investigative feature – which aired on the 6pm and 10pm bulletins – where he said: “I don't know how many more children we have to bury before we start to genuinely get to the root causes of this crisis”.

The CSJ recently published the widely-reported Time to Wake Up study, which insisted a police strategy to arrest gang leaders had to be followed-up up by preventative work that helps people escape gang culture.

The BBC feature was sparked by a gang-related killing of a London teenager last year.

The CSJ has been deeply involved in moves to tackle gang violence and previously produced the highly influential report Dying to Belong.

New Justice Secretary outlines ‘rehabilitation revolution’ plans at CSJ event

Britain needs a justice system that protects victims and helps offenders get on the straight and narrow, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling MP said at an event hosted by the CSJ.

He outlined a five point plan for the ‘rehabilitation revolution’, which included a pledge to ensure offenders are assigned mentors when they leave prison gates, who will help the former inmates find accommodation, work and health services.

In his first major speech on crime, he said there needs to be more education given to young offenders and the legal aid system needs to be reshaped so it ‘commands public confidence’.

Much of the Government's work on justice was informed by the CSJ's report Locked Up Potential.

The speech was covered widely by the national media, including: the Guardian, Evening Standard, Politics.co.uk and Politics Home.