Bishop of St Albans visits Luton Crown Court

29/11/2012

The Bishop of St Albans came to Luton today, Thursday, 29 November 2012, to see for himself the workings of a busy court house.

The Bishop, Dr Alan Smith, visited Luton Crown Court, talking to staff, judges, barristers and everyone involved in keeping the wheels of justice turning.

Bishop Alan even sat in on a court case, met some of the prisoners, and had lunch with the judges.

The Anglican Diocese of St Albans includes Beds and he was there at the invitation of the court's resident judge, Judge Richard Foster.

The Bishop met everyone from security, catering and cleaning staff to solicitors, barristers and representatives from witness support, the Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and the probation service.

He said: "It's been interesting to hear from those involved in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) on a daily basis just what happens to a busy court moving.

The Bishop said he had been struck by the organisation needed everyday to get the necessary people in court every day for hearings to take place. Witnesses, experts, interpreters, all had to be there along with prisoners and police officers.

While at the court he was taken to meet the court staff who behind the scenes, strive to ensure cases get going without hitches.

He said: "The whole area of justice and rehabilitation is something everyone in our society should be thinking about."

The Bishop said the Diocese of St Albans, with its 405 churches, 135 church schools, and chaplaincy services, meant that it was one of the biggest grass root organisations in the area which could offer support and help to the courts and CJS.

Bishop Alan said he was keen to learn about current crime trends and sentencing issues that judges face daily.

He met with cell staff responisible for prisoners and even some of those being held in custody.

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