22 Sep 2016
Quality of Derbyshire probation work declines following privatisation
The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation’s inspection report on probation in Derbyshire, published today (Thursday 22 September).
The report states that the publicly-run National Probation Service (NPS), responsible for supervising people deemed to present a high risk of reoffending, was working well to protect the public and to rehabilitate those who had committed crimes.
However, the privately-run Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), tasked with managing medium- and low-risk cases, was criticised by inspectors, who found the quality of its work to be much lower than that delivered by the publicly-run probation trust that it replaced last year.
CRC staff had caseloads that were far too high, with many having to supervise more than 70 people. Many staff were concerned that they had not received enough training.
In more than one in four cases, the CRC had insufficiently assessed a person’s risk of harm to children or the general public.
The report also draws attention to the CRC’s failure to work effectively with perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The break-up of the public probation service, with a large part of it handed to 21 private companies, was supposed to turn lives around, reduce reoffending and make us all safer.
“Today’s report, however, indicates that the quality of probation work has declined in Derbyshire, increasing the risk to the public and letting down people who are trying to change their lives.
“The Howard League warned that ministers were taking a huge risk by dismantling a service that was performing well. We remain of that view.”
Notes to editors
- The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
- A copy of the report can be found on Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation’s website from Thursday 22 September.
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