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Identifying gambling-related harms earlier to inform sentencing and treatment pathways

PAGE, Sarah, TURNER, Jo and PLIMLEY, Sarah (2022) Identifying gambling-related harms earlier to inform sentencing and treatment pathways. Probation Quarterly (26). ISSN 2252-6933

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Abstract or description

In 2020 and 2021 Staffordshire University, the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Magistrates’ Association collected data with magistrates across England and Wales and wider professionals across the Criminal Justice System (CJS), including therapeutic experts working with those experiencing gambling-related-harms. Our research explored 1) sentencers’ understanding of crime and problem gambling 2) what sentencing considerations were employed when a defendant had a gambling addiction and 3) what therapeutic pathways were offered within the CJS. Magistrates were surveyed (N = 656 participants) and 26 magistrates attended online focus groups (6 focus groups occurred). A further 21 professionals from the criminal justice sector took part in an online world café event to cross check and add to the sentencer data. Suggestions for CJS improvements were made throughout the course of the research. A final report ‘Sentencers’ understanding, and treatment of problem gamblers’ (Page, 2021) is available via the Howard League for Penal Reform website. The findings have been included in the work of the Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling led by Lord Goldsmith, which aims to inform national reforms and the government’s Gambling Commission. Findings include and advocate for 1) sentencing guidance reforms to include gambling as a mitigating (and aggravating) factor, 2) that at the earliest opportunity gambling is detected through assessment (via police custody, liaison and diversion and pre-sentence reports), 3) that appropriate be-spoke gambling treatment referral pathways are employed and 4) that CJS professionals receive gambling addiction and gambling-related crime training. Staffordshire University is now working as a learning partner with GamCare to support HMPPS in developing a national Gambling Strategy. We are working to identify prevalence and support needs within incarcerated populations and those on licence across England and Wales. This article also includes provisional findings from a GamCare co-ordinated community event in 2022 with people with lived and learned experience of gambling harms and the CJS (N = 14).

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Law, Policing and Forensics > Sociology, Criminology and Terrorism
Depositing User: Sarah PAGE
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2023 16:29
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2023 16:29

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