Criminal Justice Act 1991

The Criminal Justice Act 1991 (c. 53) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Most of it only applies to England and Wales, with certain clauses extended to either Northern Ireland or Scotland. The Act enabled the introduction of private prisons to the United Kingdom, attempted to reform the system of fines in England and Wales, established HM Inspectorate of Probation as a statutory body, and allowed for the Home Secretary to release foreign prisoners from prison to enable their deportation.

Criminal Justice Act 1991
Act of Parliament
Long title″An Act to make further provision with respect to the treatment of offenders and the position of children and young persons and persons having responsibility for them; to make provision with respect to certain services provided or proposed to be provided for purposes connected with the administration of justice or the treatment of offenders; to make financial and other provision with respect to that administration; and for connected purposes.
Citation1991 c. 53
Introduced byKenneth Baker
Territorial extent England & Wales; Scotland; Northern Ireland
Royal assent25 July 1991
CommencementMultiple dates
Other legislation
Amended byCriminal Justice Act 1993 Criminal Justice Act 2003
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended
Text of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

It remains in force with many of its provisions amended by subsequent Criminal Justice Acts.

History edit

The Conservative MP John Greenway attempted to have the Act amended during its passage to introduce the death penalty for the murder of a police officer.[1][2]

Provisions edit

Early Removal Scheme edit

The Act mode provision for an Early Removal Scheme. Under the Scheme, the Home Secretary can release foreign national prisoners early from prison where they were subject to deportation or administrative removal.[3] The Scheme is currently regulated by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and was modified in 2008 by Statutory Instrument to reduce the qualifying period before a prisoner could be released for deportation.[4][5]: 259–261 

Unit fines edit

Section 18 made provision for fines to be imposed using a mathematical formula that took into account the seriousness of the crime and the offenders ability to pay. This was subject to criticism from magistrates and others for imposing significant fines on wealthier individuals for minor offences, and insignificant fines on poorer individuals for more serious offences. Eventually, Kenneth Clarke introduced the Criminal Justice Act 1993 to remove the system of unit fines.[6][7]: 65 

Drug rehabilitation edit

Schedule 1A6 made provision for attendance at drug treatment for an offender on probation who suffered from alcohol or drug dependence.[8]

HM Inspectorate of Probation edit

Section 73 placed HM Inspectorate of Probation on a statutory footing.[9]

Private prisons edit

Sections 84 to 88 made it possible for the establishment of private prisons in England and Wales. Subsequently, HM Prison Wolds opened as the first privately managed prison in the UK in 1992.[10]

References edit

  1. ^ "Criminal Justice Bill (Hansard, 25 June 1991)". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  2. ^ "PUNISHMENT FOR MURDER OF A POLICE OFFICER (Hansard, 21 February 1994)". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  3. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | Criminal Justice Act 1991". Refworld. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  4. ^ Statutory Instrument 2008 No. 977 The Early Removal of Short-Term and Long-Term Prisoners (Amendment of Requisite Period) Order 2008 (Coming into force 7 April 2008)
  5. ^ "Criminal Justice Act 2003",, The National Archives, 2003 c. 44
  6. ^ "Fine plans echo 1991 Tory policy". 2005. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Criminal Justice Act 1993: Section 65",, The National Archives, 1993 c. 36 (s. 65)
  8. ^ Peter, Reuter; Alex, Stevens (2007). "An Analysis of UK Drug Policy" (PDF). United Kingdom Drug Policy Commission – via Kent Academic Repository.
  9. ^ Hutchings, John (March 2010). "History of HM Inspectorate of Probation" (PDF). Criminal Justice Inspectorates. HM Inspectorate of Probation. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  10. ^ Nehal, Panchamia (14 November 2012). "Competition in prisons" (PDF). Institute for Government. Retrieved 4 April 2018.