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Darren McGarvey: The State We're In | Preview (BBC Two)

UK prisons are overcrowded, public trust in the police is at an all-time low, it takes years for cases to reach court, and knife and gun crime seem to dominate headlines. Darren McGarvey journeys through the justice system to find out why it serves neither victim nor criminal.



Spending the day with a rookie police officer on her first day on the job in High Wycombe, Darren wants to find out how the police can begin to repair their relationship with communities.



In Liverpool, Darren sees first-hand the reality of the city’s knife crime epidemic as he meets the devasted mother of Ava White, who was stabbed to death in 2021, aged just 12. Fortunately, Ava’s family were able to see her killer sentenced within just a few months, but for many victims of crime, the wait for justice can stretch into years.


To find out the reality of Britain’s court backlog, Darren meets high-flying London barrister Joanna Hardy-Susskind, who has given him a privileged peek behind the wigs and gowns.




For those who do face their day in court and receive a sentence, serving time could involve an overcrowded Victorian prison where officers spend so long getting the inmates fed that there is little time for anything else.


Spending a day in Barlinnie - Scotland’s oldest and biggest prison - Darren faces the realities of a 21st-century jail. He then heads to Norway, where, in stark contrast, prisoners receive shorter sentences and the focus is on rehabilitation. Could the UK ever follow a similar approach?



Darren then meets a good news story as he travels to Southampton to meet a former prisoner who now, as a fully qualified lawyer, practices in the very court in which he was sentenced.



Airs Thursday 29th February at 9pm on BBC Two.

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