Australian Institute of Criminology

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An agent-based simulation model of the criminal justice system of England and Wales

Australian Institute of Criminology, Jenny Maresh
10 October 2005 -

Dr Jenny Maresh
Office of Criminal Justice Reform, UK


In 2003 a simulation model of the Criminal Justice System of England and Wales (CJS) was developed as a tool for policy planning and budget allocation. This dynamic agent-based simulation model has now been in use for two years.

Dr Maresh discussed the need for continued cross-agency involvement in the model in order to update the input data and keep track of any changes in the CJS framework. An example of this is the recent merging of the prison service and probation service into the National Offender Management System.

Dr Maresh outlined the many challenges ahead, including maintaining a high confidence level in the model amongst policy makers, and continuing to raise its profile as a vital part of the policy process and the review of spending. Continued development of such a large model in an ever changing Criminal Justice System is also crucial. The model is not always able to answer all the questions that are asked of it. This has led to the development of smaller static models that are able to hang off the framework of the dynamic CJS model to examine specific parts of the CJS in a detail that a large model is unable to do.

About the presenter

Jenny Maresh has been working in the Office of Criminal Justice Reform, the cross-departmental team that supports criminal justice agencies in working together to provide an improved service to the UK public, since March 2005. She works in a team whose remit is to provide quantitative analysis and modelling skills to all of the Criminal Justice System agencies and departments. Prior to this Jenny completed a PhD in Geophysics at Cambridge University.