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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Transforming Rehabilitation so far

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A summary of the first twelve Probation Inspectorate area inspection reports into the new public/private probation system known as Transforming Rehabilitation.

Public/Private Probation

Transforming Rehabilitation was the Ministry of Justice’s project for the biggest overhaul of probation in the service’s 100+ year history. The central component of Transforming Rehabilitation was the split of the former probation service into two with a new National Probation Service managing high risk offenders and servicing the courts with the other, larger share of functions – interventions and the management of low and medium risk offenders – being outsourced to 21 new providers who are known as Community Rehabilitation Companies.

The TR project has attracted considerable criticism on three main grounds:

  • Ideological — the split was apparently driven, at least in part, by the political desire to privatise the probation service.
  • Conceptual — most commentators expressed the fear that the new system would inevitably be fragmented since offenders would now be supervised by, in effect, two local probation services with the consequent need for additional procedures and bureaucracy to organise the repeated transfer of responsibilities between them.
  • Financial — the overall funding pot was reduced significantly while at the same time requiring the new CRCs to supervise an extra 50,000 short term prisoners per year.

Criticism

A number of bodies, including the National Audit Office and the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee have expressed serious concerns about the performance of the new system, albeit it remains early days with CRCs only taking up the reins in February 2015.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation undertook a series of five inspections on the implementation of TR which identified a number of difficulties with the new system. Since August 2016, HMIP has published Quality and Impact inspection reports on the performance of the new TR system in 14 different localities.

The infographic below is my summary of these reports; please bear in mind that the star ratings are not official rankings from the Inspectorate but my judgments based on the inspection reports. [But see here for HMIP’s proposed new rating system.]

You can click on my summaries of each of the area reports from within the infographic.

Conclusion

The Justice Secretary David Lidington has asked civil servants at the MoJ to come up with a range of options for improving the performance of the probation service.

[Infographic last updated 9 November 2017.]

If you’d like a copy of the infographic in interactive pdf format, please: Email me.

 

All infographics are kindly sponsored by Intelligent Fingerprinting whose non-invasive fingerprint drug test has been designed to simplify and support drug screening programmes across a range of applications. IFP has no editorial influence on the contents of this site.

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All Probation Posts are sponsored by Unilink

With over 20 years’ experience in the criminal justice sector, Unilink is a world leader in probation and community corrections software applications, as well as prisoner self-service, prisoner/case management and prisoner communications. Unilink’s integrated suite of products provide a complete digital solution enabling efficient running of prisons and probation. Underpinned by biometrics it integrates seamlessly to deliver security, efficiency and value – while being proven to help rehabilitate prisoners.

3 Responses

  1. I struggle to see on what basis we will ever be able to judge whether the post-privatisation service is better or worse than what went before. It’s is easier to see that things are going wrong in prison – this week’s ‘Panorama’ a case in point. Anyone watching that can say, this is appalling. But with probation, how would you know? Reconviction rates? – but they fluctuate naturally quite a bit.

    1. Hi Julian, Inspection reports are a fair barometer and impartial judge. I think it’s probably fair to give CRCs until the end of this year – reflected in inspections mid-2018 – given they are being asked to more with less (and considerably less than they were promised). Such issues as being seen promptly after an order is made, having a proper assessment and receiving regular interventions which address the needs identified, proper regard to public protection all apply pre- and post-TR and all are a good indicator of performance. Same as time out of cells, safety and security, resettlement planning are in prison.
      Russell

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