Everything you want to know about probation
The most up-to-date data
This is the latest in my new series of compendiums of the latest data and trends in the criminal justice system. Following compendiums on prisons, sentencing, and offender equalities, this edition focuses on probation.
For the best experience, click through the visualisation at the bottom of this page, this allows you to hover over data points and see the exact data. If you can’t see the visualisation below on your device, you can find it here.
Topics covered include:
- The decline of community sentences over the last decade
- Caseload figures (including changes in different forms of supervision)
- The offence profile of people on community supervision
- A breakdown of the popularity of different requirements on community orders and suspended sentence orders
- Successful completion rates (and reasons for termination) for community supervision
- The spectacular drop in the number of full Pre-Sentence reports
I hope you find them of use and interest.
Compendium last updated 17 December 2019
Recent Probation Posts
We are only just beginning to understand the full challenge of how to help people facing multiple or complex needs. People facing multiple needs are in every community in Britain and it is estimated that 58,000 people face all three problems of homelessness, substance misuse and offending in any one year. Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) is a coalition of Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind which has just (2 June 2015) published a report advising policy makers on this issue.
Interviewees often described a sense of loss, talking about the experience of being forced to transfer to the CRC as a bereavement or divorce. Many staff were extremely angry and upset at being forced out of the public sector whose values they explicitly espoused. There was also a strong sense of loss from long-time colleagues who were being transferred to the National Probation Service.
The official conclusion of the JDL analysis is that: “individuals who received support provided by Women’s Centres throughout England experienced a reduction in re‐ offending of between 1 and 9 percentage points.” This is a very positive finding and it is to be hoped that the JDL repeats this analysis in the near future with a much bigger cohort and more sophisticated matching method.
These are outstanding outcomes and demonstrate the importance of a recovery-oriented treatment approach as a long term solution to tackling drug-related crime; interestingly, reconviction rates for RAPt graduates go down further in the second year post-release. Unfortunately, less than 2% of the prison population who currently need this sort of intensive intervention is receiving it. It remains to be seen if Michael Gove, the new Justice Secretary, can improve on that figure.
The latest probation inspection report has found there are still major implementation problems with the new split probation system known as Transforming Rehabilitation.
The report, the first from new Chief Inspector Paul Wilson, found: Serious problems with the new Risk of Serious Recidivism tool…
Changes in probation and substance misuse commissioning, combined with the very significant cuts to the prison system, have made it much more difficult for drug and/or alcohol dependent offenders to get the treatment which they need to achieve recovery, in which society needs to tackle crime.
The extent of voluntary sector participation in the new privatised probation service introduced by the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme is very unclear. The recent Clinks State of the Sector report found that many organisations were unsure about whether there would be opportunities for them to be involved in delivering TR.
Splitting up responsibility for offender management has created a divide between a small national probation service and the 21 CRCs leading a huge increase in bureaucracy and growing professional tensions. The probation profession is potentially being undermined as there is no longer a requirement for CRCs to use staff with recognised probation qualifications. They no longer have to employ qualified probation officers to manage complex cases.
This short video published by UN Women (@UN_Women) provides a chilling snapshot of the extent of violence against women across the world, whether at home, on the streets or during war. Please share as widely as you can.
We cannot go on thinking we can imprison our way to a safer society, not only is it poor value for money for the taxpayer, it also fails to recognise the evidence already available that there are better and more cost effective ways to protect the public and reduce reoffending.
It is this relentless focus on ensuring that everything we do actually achieves our aims that is desperately needed in crime and justice policy. To do something radical such as cutting prison numbers, a new Justice Secretary will need allies and I think the best bet is the Treasury.
The fact that women make up only 5% of the prison population and 15% of those on probation means their needs are often overlooked by a system which is focused on the profile and behaviour of male offenders.