HMI Probation report on the provision of Through the Gate resettlement services

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 Press Statement  

4  October 2016 - Immediate Release

HMI Probation report on the provision of Through the Gate resettlement services

The largest union in the probation service in England and Wales has responded to the joint report by HM Chief Inspectors of Probation and Prisons on Through the Gate resettlement services for short-term prisoners, published today (Tuesday 4 October).

The report from Dame Glenys Stacey who addressed Napo's annual conference last week, covers the findings of her independent directorate into the impact of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reforms (TR), under which all prisoners sentenced to 12 months or less are now subject to 12 months’ supervision by probation services on release.

The TR reforms involved the break-up of the public probation service, with a large part of it handed to 21 privately-run Community Rehabilitation Companies who are now funded by the taxpayer to provide support for offenders who pass ‘Through the Gate’ from prison back into the community.

HMIP inspectors found that services provided by the CRCs were poor or non-existent with too many prisoners reaching their release date without their immediate needs having been met or even recognised. Inspectors were also concerned by the high rate at which people had gone on to reoffend and been recalled to prison.

The report indicates that of the 86 cases inspected, not one client had been helped into employment. More than one-third of prisoners were released with nowhere to live and insufficient assistance was available for people in debt.

Public safety

The report also reveals that victims were not protected, as the risk of harm posed by released prisoners was not always recognised. In 61 per cent of cases inspected, the Community Rehabilitation Company had taken insufficient account of public protection issues. This problem was particularly noticeable in domestic abuse cases.

Ian Lawrence Napo General Secretary said: “This latest damning report into the Transforming Rehabilitation experiment implemented by former Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling, accurately reflects the evidence from our members that an agenda which was supposed to reduce reoffending and make us all safer, is doing the opposite. The original claim that short term sentence prisoners would receive additional support on top of their £46 pounds is nothing more than a cheap soundbite. Through the Gate has failed to help people find homes and employment, failed to prevent people committing further offences, and failed the taxpayer by exposing victims of crime to even more danger.

“The HMI Probation report again illustrates what happens when politicians refuse to listen to expert advice and plough ahead with ideas that result in disaster. This reckless experiment with public safety, which Napo and many other organisations warned against, is a catastrophic example of political failure, and its impact will be felt for many years.

“I urge the new Secretary of State to rescind the CRC contracts with immediate effect without any additional cost to the taxpayer. The probation service needs to be reinstated to being the gold standard not for profit service that it once was, so that it serves the public and victims of crime.”

Successive reports consistently show the failure of TR

Last August, HM Inspectorate of Probation reported that the quality of probation work in Durham had declined since the Transforming Rehabilitation programme began. A similar report on services in Derbyshire, which reached the same view, was published the following month. These conclusions followed a highly critical report by the National Audit Office into the TR Procurement process.

Less than two weeks ago, the Public Accounts Committee’s report on Transforming Rehabilitation concluded that the government’s promised “rehabilitation revolution” was far from complete.

Only last week, HM Inspectorate of Prisons reported that women’s services had deteriorated and were “under threat” following the implementation of the programme.

ENDS

 

For further information and possible media opportunities please contact Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence on 07788 118005 or Tania Bassett (lead for media and parliamentary issues) on 0790 4184195.

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