The Guardian view on privatising probation: ideology over facts | Editorial

Chris Grayling was a justice minister who preferred to keep faith in privatisation even when his changes were failing some of the most vulnerable in our society. He ought to be accountableIn any ideology faith replaces sight. Blind obeisance means giving up on evidence, on the ability to learn and to correct one’s course and instead be willing to look like a fool. This was the approach the government took when it privatised chunks of the probation service in 2015 – saying it would inject dynamism, deliver improved outcomes and that contracts would link the arms of the criminal justice service. This was firmly contradicted last week by parliament’s justice committee which issued a scathing report on the reforms, saying they had failed to deliver promised improvements and MPs doubted they ever would. Left to look asinine is Chris Grayling, the justice secretary behind the changes.Probation services are meant to oversee the rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners. Yet the committee found the impact on reoffending rates has been “disappointing”. The much-hyped, enhanced role for voluntary organisations has not only not materialised – the sector’s involvement has actually decreased. The basic design is flawed. The categorisation of its 264,649 offenders (90% of them

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'A crack in the edifice': privacy advocates hail supreme court cellphone data ruling

EFF says decision that authorities can no longer access location data without a warrant means an end to government’s ‘free rein’If you live in the US and carry a cellphone, you might as well be wearing an ankle monitor that logs your location every 15 minutes and maintains an archive of that information dating back as much as five years.That may sound like the scaremongering of a privacy advocate, but the analogy comes from Chief Justice John Roberts who, on Friday, authored a majority opinion ruling in the supreme court that the government could no longer access an individual’s cellphone location data without a warrant. Related: Supreme court bans police access to phone records without a warrant Continue reading…

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Gang raped and set on fire: ICC pushes to investigate Myanmar Rohingya atrocities

Exclusive: Evidence of horrific treatment emerges as the Hague gives Myanmar deadline to respond to claimsHarrowing accounts of Rohingya women tied to trees and raped for days by Myanmar’s military and men being pushed into mass graves, doused with petrol and set alight have been sent to the international criminal court.The evidence has been sent by a coalition of Bangladesh organisations to ICC prosecutors who are pushing to investigate allegations of forced deportation from a country where it has no jurisdiction.The ICC must be brave and accept it has jurisdiction. Continue reading…

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If Labour is really progressive, it will pledge to decriminalise drugs | Michael Segalov

Years of DIY-testing the dubious stashes of festival-goers have convinced me that urgent reform is needed to keep people safeWhile discussion of drugs and drug policy often revolve around facts, figures and complex science, perhaps it’s worth reflecting on what I have witnessed at British music festivals over the past four years. Summer after summer, I arrive in fields across the UK on a mission to shine a light on how we take drugs. One year, I traipsed across campsites with DIY testing kits – helping revellers understand how pure their stashes were, and what they were cut with. A sensible drug policy is overdue, one that legalises cannabis and decriminalises possession of all illegal substances Related: XXXTentacion’s brutal life points to the problem with UK drug policy | Suzanne Moore Continue reading…

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Hungary is making a mockery of ‘EU values’. It’s time to kick it out | Owen Jones

Criminalising help for refugees is a sign of Viktor Orbán’s growing authoritarianism. Europe cannot afford to ignore itIt’s time for the European Union to kick Hungary out. There it is, a member state, casually flouting basic democratic norms and human rights, swiftly evolving into an authoritarian nightmare, with absolutely no meaningful consequences.Consider the latest act in Hungary’s slide towards what its prime minister Viktor Orbán boasts is an “illiberal democracy”. The country’s parliament has not just passed a law making claims for asylum almost impossible: the very act of helping migrants and refugees has been criminalised. Furthermore, a 25% tax has been slapped on funding for NGOs that “support immigration”: in practice, that means having anything positive to say about immigration. Related: Hungary passes anti-immigrant ‘Stop Soros’ laws Continue reading…

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