Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Telling the real story behind immigration figures

. . .  is my fourth and final column - in a series of pieces exploring the EU referendum and immigration - for the Solicitors Journal. [READ MORE HERE]

We can counter the claim that Brexit means taking back control of the UK’s borders

. . . is my latest piece for LabourList. Originally published online before the EU Referendum, I've been unable to post it on my blog beforehand. [READ MORE HERE]

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hegel's Ideal Scotch - A LIST EXISTS!!

Wow. Someone I’ve never met read an essay I wrote about Hegel and whiskey - he did like Absolute Spirit, after all (you’ve been a great audience - good night!).
He then decided he’d create a system of ranking whiskies based on my Hegelian insights - honoured, fascinated and amazed all at once.
CHECK IT OUT HERE - much fun!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Daily Express publishes wrong migration statistics - and hopes you don't notice

This morning I saw this story on the Daily Express website about "Four million migrants have entered the UK in the past 20 years". These numbers don't refer to the total number who have come to Britain on holiday, but instead 'net migration'.

Some background. Net migration counts the numbers of people coming into the UK - and the numbers of people leaving for abroad - for 12 months or more.

I quickly pointed out to Giles Sheldrick, who wrote the piece, that the net migration figures he was using included a large chunk of foreign students, British students on a gap year and British citizens who lived abroad for a year or more who decided to return home. In other words, many of the 4m migrants we were to be worried about were either British citizens coming home or foreign students earning a degree before returning to their countries.

He first denied I was right -

Curiously, his piece says nothing about the students -- and does not account for, erm, 700,000 of the 4m he says are in Britain.
After reminding him that, no, he definitely has his facts wrong on how net migration is counted, two things happened:
First, he deleted his tweet so that no one might see his error - and then he did this:
Sadly, this seems yet another case of inflating numbers in an effort to scare more than inform -- all ahead of a crucial, tightly contested referendum battle.  But I suppose "never let the facts get in the way of a story"....

Enoch Powell said students shouldn't count as immigrants. So why does Vote Leave include them?

The answer seems to be to do anything they can to make the migration numbers are large as possible.

Even Enoch Powell in 'that speech' (yes, the 'Rivers of Blood' one) rejected the idea of including students in migration statistics: "They are not, and never have been, immigrants." (See for yourself below!)
 Yet the "net migration" statistics used by campaigners for Britain leaving the UK regularly quote net migration stats where a big chunk are students. If you're to the right of Enoch Powell *on immigration*, then this should speak volumes...
(Quote is from my book Becoming British (Biteback, May 2016) found at https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/becoming-british).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Telling the real story behind immigration figures

. . . is my last of four columns on immigration and Britain's EU referendum for Solicitors Journal [READ MORE HERE].

Unpublished letter to the Time #19


Vote Leave's proposed Asylum and Immigration Control Bill would create a problem for how Britain handles asylum cases. Brexit would mean our exit from the Dublin Regulation and so end the UK's right to return asylum seekers to the EU country they entered first. The concern is that this could create a pull factor attracting more asylum seekers taking risks with their lives in the knowledge they might settle in Britain without any prospect of return to the EU. This is an odd outcome for any Brexit campaigner to support.




Professor Thom Brooks

Chair in Law and Government

Author, Becoming British: UK Citizenship Examined (Biteback, 2016)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Great piece by InFacts.Org noting my campaigning to bring back the Migration Impacts Fund

Experts like Thom Brooks have been calling for the reinstatement of Migration Impact Fund "since its abolition" http://infacts.org/cameron-must-activate-pledge-local-migration-funding-now/

Bhikhu Parekh makes brilliant speech in favour of the UK remaining in the EU

The speech is found here and delivered in the House of Lords - the full text:
"My Lords, I have been in this country for more than 50 years and I cannot recall an equivalent occasion when it was likely to take such a momentous decision as to whether we should remain in or leave the European Union, on the basis of a rather shallow and polarised debate conducted in a mood of panic created or exploited by a motley crowd of politicians who are prepared to change their convictions as often as they change their underwear. I want to argue as forcefully as I can why it would be unwise of us to leave the European Union; or rather, more positively, why it is crucial that we stay.
First, as several speakers have pointed out, there is no clear alternative. There is all this brave talk about our being able to do this, that or the other, negotiating like Canada or Norway, but it is all based on fantasies. The European Union will not view us as kindly, and therefore will be less disposed to accommodate us. Other countries will not be able to deal with us because they have been dealing with us on the basis of our membership of the European Union and, once that is taken away, the assumption based on the fact that they will continue to co-operate with us does not hold. I therefore think that it would be absolutely mad to move in a direction about which we know so little rather than build on what we have achieved so far. The Prime Minister has brought back a settlement. In 2017 we have the unique opportunity to be president. There are all these possibilities whereby we can use our good offices to set our own agenda and take the European Union in the direction we want to take it.
The second reason that we ought to stay in the European Union has to do with the idea of sovereignty. We are constantly told that we should take back control over our affairs. Well, we already have control over our affairs, because our MEPs sit there and our commissioners take decisions. Getting out does not give us any greater control, because the forces we deal with are global and they require a global response. Sovereignty is ultimately about power and power is not gained in isolation, because isolation is impotence. Power is gained when we share with others in jointly collaborating and organising our affairs. The choice is therefore between insisting on being sovereign, going it alone and becoming impotent or being part of a larger unit and working together with it.
The third reason I think membership of the European Union is crucial to us has to do with the fact that Europe has been a constant point of reference and has provided standards of comparison. In all matters having to do with social and other affairs—for example, survival rates for patients after cancer, unmarried mothers, teenage pregnancies—there are comparative figures for other European countries and for our own. These hurt us when they show that we are not doing as well as other countries, because all European countries, more or less, are at the same stage of development. These comparisons inspire us, they shame us, they make us proud when we do better and they lead to important changes.
It is also very striking that membership of the European Union has been a force for great good for us. I can remember those occasions when people had to take matters to the European Court. In matters having to do with human rights, equal pay, paid holidays, maternity and paternity leave and health and safety standards, Europe has been a champion of social democracy and has helped us maintain a certain standard of decency in our country which otherwise might not have obtained.
My fourth reason has to do with the fact that our membership of the European Union has helped us create a stable and peaceful Europe. This is partly because of our great role in the Second World War and the policies we have followed since. If we leave, there are two possibilities. Either other countries may try to emulate us and the European Union may break up into a conglomeration of small nation states, or the process of unification may go further, resulting in a continental state. A powerful continental state can never be in our interest. It is striking that our foreign policy has always been based on a balance of power in Europe.
The other reason this is important has to do with the fact that nation states are becoming ever less important. All countries are forming alliances and it is only those countries that are part of stable alliances which are able to make an impact. The United States matters not just because it is large and independent but because it is able to work through international institutions such as the IMF and World Bank or its control over Latin America. Likewise, China matters because it has all manner of alliances with neighbouring countries. The EU is another example. Through it we are able to shape the global agenda. Outside it, we would not have any of the influence we currently have.
I readily agree that the EU has its economic and political problems, but these can be tackled by remaining within the EU. The Prime Minister’s proposal as to the kinds of changes he has been able to secure tells us how those changes can be brought about, and I therefore suggest that we should not only stay within the EU but show a greater degree of commitment and enthusiasm than we have done so far, rather than appearing to be sulky and constantly threatening to go home with our marbles if we do not get our way. That is not the way a great nation should behave."

PRESS RELEASE: Brexit immigration bill does not improve border controls


Brexit immigration bill does not improve border controls

-With picture-
*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

The Vote Leave campaign for Britain to leave the EU proposes that Parliament pass an Asylum and Immigration Control Bill should voters choose Brexit.

The new Bill aims “to end the automatic right of all EU citizens to enter the UK” and so stop uncontrolled EU migration to Britain.

Vote Leave claims this legislation would also end European courts hold on Britain’s asylum policy. Brexit would then bring border restrictions for EU citizens and asylum policy within Parliament’s control if this Bill became law.

These claims are rejected by immigration law experts like Thom Brooks, professor of law and government at Durham University. Brooks says: ‘EU citizens do not have unrestricted rights to come and go across Britain’s border however they like. All freedoms have their limits and EU movement is no exception’.

EU citizens can normally enter the UK for six months. If they fail to get a job or lack any realistic prospect of work or study, they can be deported. More than three thousand EU citizens have been either turned away at the UK’s border or deported since 2010.

Brooks denies the new bill proposed by Vote Leave would create a better asylum policy for the UK as well. ‘Britain is part of the Dublin Regulation that allows us to deport anyone seeking asylum that entered another EU country first like Greece or Italy. If voters choose Brexit, then we leave this EU-wide policy that has benefited Britain’.

The current EU rules on asylum would not apply to the UK if there was Brexit. Refugees coming to Britain would not need to be returned to any other EU country they entered first. Brooks says this raises a concern overlooked by Vote Leave. ‘In making the case for a bill that could reduce net migration’, says Brooks, ‘ they might actually incentivise more asylum seekers to make their claims in Britain knowing there was no possibility of being returned to other EU countries. This change would be counterproductive to Vote Leave’s aims – and without the protections afforded Britain within an EU-wide policy. From EU migration to asylum, we are better in than out of Europe when it comes to immigration policy’.


Unpublished letter to the Times #18

Sir, I’m disappointed to see Tim Montgomerie’s sorry attempt at promoting a vote for Leave by empty fearmongering. Claiming that net migration ‘could’ be ‘444,000 this year or 555,000 next’ is an exercise in wild speculation. If he’s truly concerned about controlling EU migration, he should revisit how countries like France and Germany do a better job than the UK at implementing existing EU rules. The more Brexit campaigners harp on about ‘free’ movement, the less convinced I am they know anything about its many caveats and restrictions.
Professor Thom Brooks
Chair in Law and Government
Durham University

Unpublished letter to the Times #17

Sir, We need no lectures on immigration ‘facts’ from Lord Green of Deddington and his MigrationwatchUK. His repeats the myth – because it is just that – that the EU ‘prevent us placing any restrictions’ on EU migrants wanting to enter Britain. In fact, ‘free’ movement is a misnomer. Citizens of other EU countries are denied entry or deported every year. Lord Green may wish this happened in greater numbers, but my wish is he consider the facts before ideology.
Chair in Law and Government
Durham Law School

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

STATEMENT: Why Vote Leave post-Brexit immigration plans are a bad deal

A statement by Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government at Durham University's Law School and immigration expert, on Vote Leave’s Brexit immigration plans:
·         At the heart of Vote Leave’s agenda for a post-Brexit Britain is an Asylum and Immigration Control Bill.

·         The new law aims “"To end the automatic right of all EU citizens to enter the UK"

·         But no such law is necessary. EU citizens do not have any automatic right to cross Britain’s border.

·         EU ‘free’ movement of people is subject to conditions – it is neither uncontrolled or unrestricted.

·         EU citizens can claim no benefits during their first three months and may be deported if without a job or realistic prospect of a job after a total of six months – just like anyone on a tourist visa.

·         Deported EU citizens can be excluded from entry as can persons deemed not in public interest, such as those suspected of terrorist activities.

·         The one automatic right that would end is on asylum – Britain’s Brexit would mean an end to our being part of the Dublin Regulation on asylum seekers.

·         This would mean that any refugee coming to the UK could no longer be returned to the EU country they first entered to have their claim for asylum considered.

·         Brexit could mean more asylum seekers coming to Britain as they would no longer risk return to other parts of EU and, if successful, could stay in the UK rather than build a new life elsewhere.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The UK citizenship test is like a bad pub quiz - and needs to change

. . . is my latest column for The Journal [READ MORE HERE].

Where have Cameron’s promised reforms to EU membership gone?

. . . is my latest piece for the Solicitors Journal [READ MORE HERE].

STATEMENT: Would Britain have MORE control over migration outside EU?

Would Britain have more control over migration outside EU?

1. Seems unlikely – possibly even less control. Vote Leave have advocated an Australian-based points system. The Australians brought one into place to increase migration – if migrants satisfied certain criteria, they had automatic entry – so a similar system along these lines would increase migration to Britain, not decrease it. There is a points-based system subject to a cap in place for non-EU migrants. I know about this – I had to pass it.

2. Then there is the issue of ‘free’ movement. Leaving the EU does not mean leaving ‘free’ movement – no country has had access to the single market without accepting it. For all the reminders that Britain is 5th largest economy, Germany is 4th and France is 6th – and together the EU is second only to the USA.

3.  ‘Free’ movement is also not free. It is about the movement of workers, not benefit takers. Any EU migrant cannot claim benefits in the first three months arriving into Britain – and can be removed from Britain if no job or realistic prospect of work after six months. Existing rules might be enforced better (as I discuss in Becoming British https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/becoming-british) but there are rules for controlling EU migration upheld in the courts.

4. The UK has an opt out of migration-related EU policies. But we opted in to the Dublin agreement on asylum seekers. This means that anyone setting foot first in Greece or Italy, but makes a claim for asylum in Britain can be returned to the first EU country entered. If Britain left the EU, we leave the Dublin deal altogether. Britain could not return every asylum seeker to other EU countries as it would be outside the EU deal. This would increase the number of asylum cases heard – and supported – in the UK. It might also attract more cases to Britain as they would be considered here without possibility of return to other parts of the EU.

5. The UK is also a part of EU-wide intelligence on counterterrorism. No doubt, the UK would remain a part of some shared system, but it might no longer be part of the same regulatory framework for tackling terrorists if outside EU system. This would inevitably raise issues over time about how intelligence can and should be shared with the UK as a non-member.

Monday, June 06, 2016

STATEMENT on what Brexit could mean for Northern Ireland's border

The Remain camp is right that Brexit would be likely to lead to a hardening of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

The UK and Ireland are part of a Common Travel Area with the Isle of Man permitting freedom of movement between them. But if there was a Brexit, their shared membership of the EU would end and with it common agreements on migration, especially EU migration.

Brexit campaigners claim Britain can secure its border and restrict EU migration by leaving the EU. Their promise that there would not be any border controls on the ground with Ireland are a direct contradiction. They cannot promise to restrict EU migration better while leaving an open, unrestricted border with a EU country – EU migrants could simply enter Britain through this backdoor.

Either Brexit campaigners have not thought this through – or they forget that Northern Ireland is every bit a part of the UK as England, Scotland or Wales.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

NEW BOOK: Thom Brooks, Becoming British

. . . available at all good bookstores now!

From the back cover:
From Syrian asylum seekers to super-rich foreign investors, immigration is one of the most controversial issues facing Britain today. Politicians kick the subject from one election to the next with energetic but ineffectual promises to ‘crack down’, while newspaper editors plaster it across front pages.

But few know the truth behind the headlines; indeed, the almost daily changes to our complex immigration laws pile up so quickly that even the officials in charge struggle to keep up.

In this clear, concise guide, Thom Brooks, one of the UK’s leading experts on British citizenship – and a newly initiated British citizen himself – deftly navigates the perennially thorny path, exploding myths and exposing absurdities along the way. Ranging from how to test for ‘Britishness’ to how to tackle EU ‘free movement’, Becoming British explores how UK immigration really works – and sparks a long-overdue debate about how it should work.

Combining expert analysis with a blistering critique of the failings of successive governments, this is the definitive guide to one of the most hotly disputed issues in the UK today. Wherever you stand on the immigration debate, Brooks’s wryly observed account is the essential roadmap.

Can you pass the British citizenship test? Take my quiz here -- and learn more about my new book!

Can you pass the British citizenship test? Take my quiz -- and read my book.

Great fun in new blog post at my publisher's website promoting my new book Becoming British HERE. Enjoy!

Labour is Listening - Supporting SMEs

The Labour Party has a great new tool to connect with voters called 'Labour is Listening'. You can submit comments or policy suggestions on topical issues. This is what I sent today on how the Labour Party can support SMEs in new ways:

Most policy ideas for SMEs concern taxation and/or regulations. Tax breaks and incentives alongside more effective - and necessary - red tape are important.

But one further suggestion is to promote a more co-operative model. Small businesses are separate companies, but they can have shared interests. My father ran a bicycle shop out of a single shop. He was able to compete better with larger businesses and national chains by making a partnership with other independent bicycle owners in the wider area. They could pool resources and help each other with stock in a mutually beneficial way. Everyone kept their independence while preserving their freedom.

Some type of SME partnership for small businesses could help build in greater resilience to the benefit of these businesses, the local economies they serve and their customers. This could be managed through traditional means like tax incentives, but another way is engaging creatively with local chambers of commerce and trade organisations - as well as the unions. We're all in it together when it comes to a strong local economy.

Thom Brooks
Professor of Law and Government, Durham University

STATEMENT ON QUEEN'S SPEECH: Are Cameron's Prison Reforms a Revolution?

Today's Queen’s Speech is to announce “the biggest shake-up” of the prison service “since Victorian times”. What is happening? Governors of six prisons will have more control over budgets and daily routines. A grand total of just 5,000 offenders will be affected.

This is really about two things. The first is a step towards making prisons more like academies. Prison governors will have control over budgets like school headteachers.

The second is that prisons can earn an income – like from the work by prisoners. Expect to hear nothing about the potential pressure on low skilled labourers in areas near these prisons.

These plans say little about what will happen in prisons, only who has more budgetary freedom. And this is all a long way from addressing the problems of overcriminalization – and overcrowding.

The best prison reform is to improve criminal justice so prisons are needed less. These reforms may do nothing to stem the tide of offenders entering our prison system. Prison governors may have budgetary freedom for their use within a prison's four walls, but they have no freedom over deciding who should there or for how long. And what will they do? When we know that, we'll know whether this was a revolution in the making -- or a government spin to deflect attention from an exhausting EU Referendum campaign...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Great British Citizenship Test Quiz

Fun link AVAILABLE HERE on Biteback Publishing's blog promoting my book Becoming British. How well did you do?

Friday, May 06, 2016

NEW BOOK: Becoming British: UK Citizenship Examined published by Biteback

From the back cover:

From Syrian asylum seekers to super-rich foreign investors, immigration is one of the most controversial issues facing Britain today. Politicians kick the subject from one election to the next with energetic but ineffectual promises to ‘crack down’, while newspaper editors plaster it across front pages.

But few know the truth behind the headlines; indeed, the almost daily changes to our complex immigration laws pile up so quickly that even the officials in charge struggle to keep up.

In this clear, concise guide, Thom Brooks, one of the UK’s leading experts on British citizenship – and a newly initiated British citizen himself – deftly navigates the perennially thorny path, exploding myths and exposing absurdities along the way. Ranging from how to test for ‘Britishness’ to how to tackle EU ‘free movement’, Becoming British explores how UK immigration really works – and sparks a long-overdue debate about how it should work.

Combining expert analysis with a blistering critique of the failings of successive governments, this is the definitive guide to one of the most hotly disputed issues in the UK today. Wherever you stand on the immigration debate, Brooks’s wryly observed account is the essential roadmap.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

Boris and Gove are becoming the Brexit Chuckle Brothers - and it isn't funny (or truthful)

My latest statement on the "Brexit fightback" today by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove --

·         Boris and Gove sound more and more like the Brexit Chuckle Brothers – they’re having a laugh about migration fears.

·         There is no “free-for-all” on migration. The UK controls who can enter its borders – leaving the EU doesn’t change that.

·         There is no “unfettered” right of EU migrants to come and go into Britain. Like all rights, there are responsibilities. EU migrants can – and are – deported when abusing rights of travel in the EU. As Justice Secretary, Gove should know this or be informed by his advisors.

·         But what Boris and Gove don’t tell you is Brexit would mean the Dublin regulation on asylum seekers would no longer apply to Britain. The regulation is an EU agreement that asylum seekers entering the EU from one country must have any claim for asylum heard in that country. This supports deportations from countries like Britain to others on the EU’s southern border. But if there was a Brexit, Britain is out of this agreement and must assess all claims in the UK.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Institute of Advanced Study fellowships at Durham University for 2017-18

Durham University has launched its call for applications to its Institute of Advanced Study fellowships for 2017-18. The IAS runs thematic calls each year and the next is on Structure.

Our Law School can nominate fellowships - or applicants can apply without a nomination - and I would be very happy to support nominations, as the in-coming Head of School from August.

One thing that should be kept in mind is that all visiting fellows at the IAS must establish some collaborative undertaking with a Durham academic. This is broadly construed covering joint publications or research projects, a co-convened workshop or event and other 'outputs'.
Details about nomination are at https://www.dur.ac.uk/ias/themes/structure/. A CV for the proposed Fellow should be appended to the nomination pro forma, with details of how the University will benefit from the proposed research activity. The deadline for nominations and applications is 10th June 2016.

Further details about the IAS Fellowship are at www.dur.ac.uk/ias/fellows/furtherparticulars/.

Thursday, April 07, 2016


General website can be found HERE.  My submission today is as follows:


Written submission by Prof Thom Brooks, Durham University’s Law School[1]


How are prisoners helped to find employment; is support available both pre and post-release?

More can be done to support ex-offenders to find employment both pre and post-release:

Recommendation1: Support for short-term offenders in prisons

Most offenders serve less than one year in prison. Yet most rehabilitative efforts in prisons are reserved for offenders with longer sentences. The result is that most offenders transitioning through the criminal justice system lack access to rehabilitative treatments while in custody. These treatments include several that could yield significant benefits for offenders serving short-term sentences, including drug and alcohol treatments and cognitive behavioural therapy (‘CBT’).[2]

An offender’s problems do not start when imprisoned – instead, prison is a kind of confirmation that problems exist. The problems referred to here are risk factors for future offending – including drug and alcohol abuse[3] and mental health issues – that can be improved through treatment.[4] There is evidence that treatment in these areas can be delivered effectively in prisons[5] – and evidence that is reserved for the fewer serving longer sentences. The rationale is that prisons work with limited resources and greater gains are believed possible for offenders with longer sentences of over one year. More can and should be done to extend such treatment to more offenders. If these crucial risk factors can be reduced or eliminated, this will better enable a successful transition into long-term employment.[6]

Recommendation 2: Provide Incentives for Restoration of Rights

A criminal record can be a barrier to employment that cannot be discounted. This will be a bar to finding work limiting the kinds of work and employers available. This is inevitable and permissible in proportion to an offender’s wrongdoing.

It is possible for some offenders to erase their criminal records through participating in a restorative justice mediation or conference and fulfilling contractual terms.[7] But there remain barriers for offenders who serve time in prison.

Several American states, most notably New York State, are making use of new Restoration of Rights powers.[8] These permit offenders on release to apply for employment without stating criminal convictions if meeting certain conditions.[9] These might include being open to offenders serving minimal terms in prison for specific minor offences and after a period of time on release without further convictions. This rewards those who have remained lawful by restoring their rights to work as if never a prisoner – and can open up more options for work in the long term on continued good behaviour over the short term. Conditions might still disqualify applying for work in some sectors like schools.

Recommendation 3: Encourage Sentencing Council to Revisit Guidelines

Section 142 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 lists purposes of sentencing and these include the rehabilitation of offenders. Existing guidelines might benefit from a more explicit engagement with this purpose (and the others) to mandate some element of rehabilitation where possible in prison or post-release, including employability training.

What benefit payments are available on discharge from prison and how long does it take to access those benefits?

No comment.

Do the employment and education programmes available in prisons prepare prisoners for formal employment?

I would recommend bolstering these programmes by providing incentives for higher and further educational institutions to support their launch and/or maintenance. This is a precedent in American states.

What support do offenders receive to help them find suitable accommodation on leaving prison?

No comment.

What are the impacts of factors such as homelessness and unemployment on the propensity to re-offend?

The available evidence suggests homelessness and unemployment are high risk factors for future re-offending. There is clear overlap with other high risk factors like financial insecurity and can overlap with mental health needs.[10]

Submitted by Professor Thom Brooks, Chair in Law and Government, Durham Law School, Durham University, email: thom.brooks@durham.ac.uk  on 7 April 2016

[1] Professor Thom Brooks FAcSS FHEA FRHisS FRSA, Chair in Law and Government, Durham Law School, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, email: thom.brooks@durham.ac.uk, @thom_brooks, http://thombrooks.info.
[2] See Thom Brooks, Punishment (London: Routledge, 2012): 51—55.
[3] See Thom Brooks, ‘Alcohol and Public Policy’, Contemporary Social Science 8(1) (2013): 1—7; Thom Brooks (ed.), Alcohol and Public Policy (London: Routledge, 2015); Thom Brooks, ‘Alcohol, Risks and Public Policy’ in (ed.), Alcohol and Public Policy (London: Routledge, 2015): 27—33 and Thom Brooks, ‘Alcohol and Controlling Risks Through Nudges’, The New Bioethics 21(1) (2015): 46—55.
[4] See Thom Brooks, Punishment (London: Routledge, 2012): 179—187, see also 66—67 and 73—75 and Graham J. Towl, ‘Drug-Misuse Intervention Work’ in (ed.), Psychological Research in Prisons (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).
[5] See George W. Joe, et. al., ‘An Evaluation of Six Brief Interventions That Target Drug-Related Problems in Correctional Populations’, 51 Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 9 (2012) and M. Daly, et. al., ‘Cost-Effectiveness of COneccticut’s In-Prison Substance Abuse Treatment’, 39 Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 69 (2004).
[6] See further research in Thom Brooks, ‘Stakeholder Sentencing’ in Julian Roberts and Jesper Ryberg (eds), Popular Punishment: On the Normative Significance of Public Opinion for Penal Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014): 447—465.
[7] See. See further research in Thom Brooks, ‘On Punitive Restoration’, Demos Quarterly 2 (2014): 41—44 and Thom Brooks, ‘Punitive Restoration: Rehabilitating Restorative Justice’, Raisons Politiques (2015): 65—81.
[8] New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, ‘Who is Eligible for a Certificate of Relief ?’ (https://www.parole.ny.gov/certrelief.html). Interestingly, the Certificate of Relief and Certificate of Good Conduct are both designed explicitly with a view to ‘the restoration of rights’. See New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, ‘Restoration of Rights’ (https://www.parole.ny.gov/program_restoration.html). See Thom Brooks, Punishment (London: Routledge, 2012): 212.
[9] See Thom Brooks, Punishment (London: Routledge, 2012): 143—147.
[10] See Thom Brooks, Punishment (London: Routledge, 2012): 54, 60—61, 83—84, 144—146, 186—187, 207—9, 212—214.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

STATEMENT: EU Commission reforms of common asylum policy UPDATE

Statement by Professor Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government at Durham University's Law School:

·         The EU Commission is clear: the current system “was not designed to ensure a sustainable sharing of responsibility of asylum applications”. In other words, the Dublin Regulation must be reformed to deal with the continuing migrant crisis.

·         The EU Commission problems exist with how the Regulation has been implemented in general – noting “serious shortcomings” – and that more must be done in working with third countries. But even a more strictly applied Dublin Regulation would be unsustainable in the long term too “in the face of continuing migratory pressure”.

·         In response, the EU Commission has five priorities so the system can be “structurally improved”, such as making the system more sustainable and fair, and by “strengthening and harmonising further” current rules.

·         This will involve – and I quote – “a new Regulation” to “reform” the current system “as a matter of priority”.

·         And none of this will happen until AFTER the EU Referendum vote in the UK.

UPDATE: This can have profound implications. If the EU ends the current asylum policy (Dublin Regulation) in favour of a new Regulation, the UK will have to make a choice whether to be in or out. There would be no option to keep the current deal which the government favours. Any new deal would not be as preferable, but opting out might be even less so. Either way, much that the government will protest - but first it must win the vote to stay in before making the case against this reform that now looks inevitable with only the details of its implementation to follow (and on a strict timetable for this summer - this is going to move quickly).

I can be contacted by EMAIL HERE


STATEMENT: Cruz and Sanders gain big wins, but what does it mean for Trump and Clinton?

A statement on the latest primary results from Wisconsin:

Bernie’s big win causes more headaches for Hillary. While he remains a long shot to win the nomination, the longer he delays Hillary becoming the Democrat’s candidate then the more resources it drains from Hillary’s war chest to take on the Republican nominee.


There is a real difference between the camps in an increasingly heated contest – raising the issue of whether the party can come together to support whoever becomes the nominee.


But the problems for Democrats are nothing like that for Republicans. Cruz’s win is not as important as Trump’s defeat. The Donald’s seemingly unstoppable – and improbably – race to the Republican nomination has faced its first serious set-back as the backlash against his candidacy gets some legs.


Incredibly, this backlash has been orchestrated by the party’s establishment in an unprecedented coordinated attack on a Republican front runner for the White House by Republicans – I cannot recall anything like this happening before.


Much of Trump’s rise has been unpredictable and no one should assume the end is nigh for his campaign. But the shock in Wisconsin could happen again soon – and if it does, Trump’s chances may finally be cast into serious doubt.