Government reforms blamed for Conner Marshall’s death

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An inquest into the murder of Conner Marshall has slammed the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) agenda, citing its systemic failings as contributing to his death.

Conner was killed in March 2015 by David Braddon who was under the supervision of a probation service officer employed by community rehabilitation company, Working Links – which has since collapsed.

Testimony from Working Links employees was dismissed as “unreliable” by the coroner who believed evidence given by Napo members to be more credible.

The coroner also rubbished Working Links’ claims that workloads were “normal”. Napo and its members have long said that the CRC’s decision to shed 40% of staff when it began operating had created excessive and unmanageable workloads.

Management of staff being woefully inadequate – another legacy of TR – was also criticised by the coroner along with inadequate allocation of cases, and an over reliance on the workload management tool.

Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence said: “The coroners’ verdict of unlawful killing and his scathing analysis of Working Links’ operations highlights that a death like this might have been avoided if not for Chris Grayling’s botched justice reforms.

“Unlike other inquiries that usually sees probation staff thrown under the bus and scapegoated, the coroner when taking all of the evidence into account spoke to how overwhelmed the worker must have been and how this would have impacted their decision making.”

Napo continues to fight for the service to be fully reunited and brought back into public ownership, believing that this is the best way to try and reduce serious further offences that has been on a sharp rise since the reforms were rolled out.

Napo GS added: “Grayling must answer to what he has done. This was a dangerous social experiment that has seen an increase in serious further offences and a significant drop in quality and effectiveness, and the person truly responsible needs to be held to account.”

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For more information: Tania Bassett, National Official Press, Parliament and Campaigns 020 7223 4887