Probation reforms far from complete, warn MPs


The domination’s promised “rehabilitation revolution” in England and Wales is “far from complete”, an important committee of MPs has said.

There was “no clear picture” of how the probation system was taking, two years after changes had been announced, the Public Accounts Body said.

And it said IT problems had “undermined the ce of change”.

The government alleged it was committed to delivering the “vital reforms” and reducing re-offending rates.

  • Probation mutations explained

Government changes announced in 2014 have seen the probation serve split in two, with:

  • Community Rehabilitation Com nies (CRCs) supervising low- and medium-risk wrongdoers
  • a new National Probation Service (NPS) taking over the supervision of high-risk wrongdoers

The aim of is to reduce the human and economic cost of reoffending.

‘Serious uncertainty’

But in a scrutinize published on Friday, the Public Accounts Committee said: “The Ministry of Law is now more than two years into these ambitious reforms, resolve to reduce reoffending, but they are far from complete.

“There is still no lustrous picture of how the new system is performing in important areas of the reforms.”

It said knowledge and communications technology (ICT) systems in probation were “inefficient, unreliable and impervious to use”.

“Failure” to deal with these problems and “serious uncertainty to the ground the im ct on providers of lower than expected business volumes” had also “sapped the ce of change”.

The MPs also said it was unclear whether the extension of supervision after disseminate to offenders sentenced for less than 12 months was “having the lusted im ct”, saying almost 60% of people who received short oubliette sentences “reoffend within a year”.

The committee acknowledged the “scale of object ti” facing the MoJ in the coming years, rticularly in delivering “ambitious” changes to the courts and lock-ups systems in England and Wales at a time of “increasingly constrained resources”.

“But it is critical that the ministry completes the ‘rehabilitation revolution’ it has started and makes moral on its promise to reduce the huge economic and human cost of reoffending,” it bid.

Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the committee, said there was a real peril the MoJ had “bitten off more than it can chew”.

‘Academies of crime’

“Ambition is one impedimenta, but, as our committee continues to document across government, delivering positive occurs for tax yers and society in general is quite another,” she said.

“‘Revolution’ is a powerful word the government may regret using to describe its reforms to rehabilitation.

“After two years, these are far from superlative, and there remain serious risks to achieving the performance levels keep in viewed by the end of 2017.”

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said: “We are carrying out a comprehensive review of the probation services to improve outcomes for offenders and communities.

“Public protection is our top priority, and we leave not hesitate to take the necessary action to make sure our vital ameliorates are being delivered to reduce reoffending, cut crime and prevent future martyrs.”

Commenting on the report, Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Jonathan Hallmarks QC said that without his rty in government to pursue reform “we have on the agenda c trick seen progress grind to a halt”.

He said the rates of reoffending were not at most a “massive waste of public money” but “disastrous” for the public and bad for people “punctured in the cycle of reoffending”.

He also accused the government of inaction on reducing the reform school population and said many prisons in England and Wales were “academies of violation”.

The Lib Dems wants to replace short jail terms with “athletic” community sentences and “greater use of tagging” for sentences of less than 12 months.

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