18 May 2016 - Immediate Release
Probation union gives qualified welcome to prison reform plans
Napo the trade union for probation and family court workers has welcomed the general direction of the prison reforms that featured in today’s Queen’s Speech.
Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence said: “Whilst we welcome the concept of rehabilitative prisons that it is hoped will provide improved opportunities for individuals to make positive changes to their lives, our members who administer the rehabilitation process inside and outside of the prison estate believe that the reforms will simply not work unless and until skilled probation practitioners have a greater involvement in the overall strategy.”
Napo echoes comments made by other stakeholder organisations that in order for any reforms to have an impact, prisoner numbers must first be reduced and there should be a greater investment in highly trained staff.
Ian Lawrence said: "The prison crisis cannot be resolved while we have such high numbers of prisoners and such low staffing levels. Real reform needs to see a greater use of alternatives to custody so that rehabilitation can take place in communities and relieve the pressure that is on the prison estate. But this will need a commitment from the government to invest not just in service provision but also in its staff. "
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