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26 May 2016

Howard League responds to Transforming Rehabilitation inspection

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation’s fifth and final report on the early implementation of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, published today (Thursday 26 May).

The report states that, while the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies are working better together than before, serious concerns about the new arrangements remain.

Inspectors found that more than two-thirds of those released from prison had not received enough help with accommodation, employment or finances from the relevant Community Rehabilitation Company beforehand.

Morale among probation staff was found to be poor or patchy, mainly in the Community Rehabilitation Companies. Some staff said that they felt insufficiently trained to handle some of the cases they had been allocated.

Reports provided to the courts by National Probation Service staff varied in quality and there were some gaps in information.

In summary, inspectors found that some aspects of work in the National Probation Service still needed to improve. But they found that, in a number of important areas, work in the National Probation Service was better than in the Community Rehabilitation Companies.

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 people’s lives around, reduce reoffending and make us all safer.

“We were promised a ‘rehabilitation revolution’ and yet for individuals trapped in the system, the spin shows little relationship with reality.

“These companies are failing to give people the support they need on release from prison – help with finding somewhere to live, securing a job and getting their finances in order. It is hard to see how this will cut crime.

“Ministers took a huge risk by dismantling a service that was performing well. Fifteen months on, the signs are not promising.”

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 report can be found on Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation’s website from Thursday 26 May.


Rob Preece
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