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14 Dec 2017

Howard League responds to the Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to the Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation, published today (Thursday 14 December).

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The government’s mishandled Transforming Rehabilitation programme was supposed to turn lives around, reduce reoffending and make us all safer. Instead, it has been a public safety disaster, and today’s report is a sober, sensible and quietly devastating verdict on the reform programme. It is also a large and rusty nail in its coffin.

“Breaking up the public probation service, with a large part of it handed to private companies, created a fragmented, two-tier system that was never going to work. As the Chief Inspector has made clear, the problems stretch far beyond worries about funding; this is a fatally flawed model.

“The so-called ‘community rehabilitation companies’ are failing the public. Many are not commissioning the range of specialist services that are needed. Some people do not even meet their probation worker face-to-face, but instead get supervised by phone calls every six weeks or so by junior professional staff carrying workloads of 200 cases or more.

“Each of these woeful developments could be foreseen and was foreseen. The Howard League gave warning time and time again that this would happen.

“It is time for the government to end this dangerous experiment and recreate a single, successful, probation service using the best from the system 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. The Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation will be available from Thursday 14 December on the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation website.


Rob Preece
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