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16 May 2019

Howard League responds to MoJ plans for a new model of probation

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to the Ministry of Justice’s plans for a new model of probation, announced today (Thursday 16 May).

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Scrapping the failed market and re-unifying probation services is welcome. David Gauke should be warmly congratulated for listening to what the Howard League and many others have been saying about the catastrophic split and part-privatisation of probation.

“The probation service needs national leadership and accountability sitting squarely within the public sector. Probation will only keep the public safe and help people turn their lives around if it is integrated with housing, health and other such services, and promotes high professional standards at all levels.

“At the same time, the devil still lurks within the detail. How services will be delivered locally on the ground remains unclear. The regional structure proposed may prove unwieldy, while clinging to private sector delivery of something like unpaid work seems to fly in the face of repeated failures by companies to deliver on such contracts.

“Today, however, marks a huge step in the right direction.”

The Howard League submitted proposals for a Community Justice system – which would involve a national strategic focus combined with local service delivery – to the Ministry of Justice in September last year, as part of the ministry’s consultation on strengthening probation.

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. The Howard League’s response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on strengthening probation can be read in full on the charity’s website.
  1. In a blogpost published in February, Frances Crook suggested some principles that should be agreed when considering how to improve probation. The blogpost can be read on the Howard League website.


Rob Preece
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