Press Release: Prison reform will not work with a failing Probation Service

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Press Statement  

23 February 2017 - Immediate Release

Prison reform will not work with a failing Probation Service

Today the Secretary of State for Justice will outline and present the Prison and Courts Bill in the House of Commons. The main theme of the Bill is a greater focus on rehabilitation and modernising the Courts to ensure victims are at the heart of the justice system. Despite this however, there is no mention of the Probation Service which is currently in chaos and failing to provide even the basic supervision of offenders in the community. Yesterday saw the publication of yet another damning report by Her Majesty's Inspection for Probation.

Dame Glenys Stacey said: "We advise government to consider whether, with changes to probation company contracts these orders can be made to work well, or whether it is time for a more fundamental rethink.”

This comment follows the inspection of the new community intervention Rehabilitation Activity Requirements introduced by the former Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who promised a "rehabilitation revolution". The reality according to the inspector and Napo is that these orders are not being delivered and in many cases no work at all is being done with offenders to reduce their risk of re-offending. The report yesterday supports Napo's claims that Transforming Rehabilitation has not worked and has led to a much poorer level of service.

Ian Lawrence General Secretary for Napo said: "We have persistently advised the government that their reforms are failing. These plans were not evidence based and have led to chaos in the probation service with private providers failing to deliver on the most basic community supervision. Instead of innovation we are seeing less rehabilitation work with offenders. Job cuts and staff shortages have led to unmanageable workloads for our members. The Inspector has in a number of reports said that this is a direct risk to public safety and must be urgently addressed. No reforms to the prison system will work if there is not a fully functioning and effective Probation Service to supervise those being released."

The new orders introduced by Chris Grayling in 2014 were intended to play a significant part in reducing re-offending but according to HMI Probation and Napo less than ever is being done to rehabilitate those in the community.

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.