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The latest research, policy, practice and opinion on our criminal justice and drug & alcohol treatment systems

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How can we make our prisons safer?

The Justice Committee finds that overall levels of safety in prisons are continuing to deteriorate and demands a MoJ/NOMS action plan with quarterly updates


The latest on prison reforms

Summary of Michael Gove’s appearance before the House of Commons Justice Committee setting out his plans for penal reform.

On Probation

Justice Committee questions government commitment to women offenders

This is a short and slightly disappointing report which seems intended merely to place a marker for the next government. Little substantive work has taken place since the Justice Committee’s initial enquiry into women offenders in March 2013. As a consequence, the report is reduced to expressing the hope

On Probation

Justice Committee on creating a probation market

The Committee expressed reservations that the MoJ would be able to run an effective competition process with the required level of transparency. It noted that a number of significant components of the programme had not been finalised. This issue was related to one of the Committee’s overall findings that the whole TR programme is being implemented too fast and without sufficient consideration and, where appropriate, piloting.

On Probation

Justice Committee on payment by results

There was also concern that there would be insufficient investment in TR to enable providers to reduce reoffending – particularly with the extension of probation to short term prisoners. Ideally, the payment mechanism should incentivise providers to take risks and develop new approaches to reducing reoffending. If these approaches are successful, society (through less crime), the taxpayer (less demand on services) and the new providers (PbR bonus payments) all benefit.

On Probation

Justice Committee on TR Transition

Many witnesses who gave evidence to the Committee highlighted the inherent difficulties about the division of offender management between high risk and low-medium risk offenders, making the point that risk is dynamic and that there will need to be excellent communication across the two bodies to manage effectively those offenders whose risk levels rise and fall.

On Probation

The Justice Committee questions the rationale for TR

One of the driving forces of TR is the desire to improve reoffending rates and cut costs. The Committee was particularly interested to get a sound cost benefit analysis of the proposed changes. The Committee criticises the MoJ for being “less than forthcoming” with information about the costs of TR and highlights two key points…

On Probation

The Justice Committee interim report on Transforming Rehabilitation

The report maintains a balanced approach throughout although concerns and criticisms are pretty constant. The Committee acknowledges that although Transforming Rehabilitation appears to be a very risky initiative, “there are risks involved in not taking action to deal with the gaps and weaknesses in the present system.”


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