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19 Apr 2017

Howard League responds to Gwent probation inspection

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation’s report on adult probation services in Gwent, published today (Wednesday 19 April).

The report states that the publicly-run National Probation Service (NPS), responsible for supervising people deemed to present a high risk of reoffending, was performing well overall.

However, the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), owned by Working Links, and tasked with managing medium- and low-risk cases, was criticised by inspectors.

The inspection team said that the CRC’s work was driven by “an overpowering need to balance the books”, with supervision of some people scaled back to just a phone call every six weeks.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of 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 this has failed in Gwent, increasing the risk to the public and letting down people who are trying to change their lives.

“A general election is only seven weeks away, and one of the first challenges for a new government will be to sort out this mess.

“It is time to end the dangerous experiment of ‘community rehabilitation companies’ and return to the single, successful, probation service that we used to have.”

Notes to editors

  1. 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.
  1. A copy of the Gwent inspection report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Probation website.


Rob Preece
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