Ministry of Justice statistics show effectiveness of probation

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The Probation Chiefs Association welcomes today’s publication of statistics on offender management, MAPPA, prisons and probation performance, and proven re-offending which individually and collectively illustrate the effectiveness of Probation in protecting the public and reducing re-offending. Continue reading here…

Response to the Prime Minister’s Vision for the Criminal Justice System

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Probation is a critical part of the Criminal Justice System and for the Prime Minister to omit it in his vision for the CJS on 22nd October is disappointing and short-sighted. Disappointing, because dedicated probation staff work tirelessly with risky, complex and chaotic individuals to punish and reform them according to the sentences of the court; and short sighted because, at a tenth of a cost of prison, community orders have reoffending rates that are significantly lower and are declining year on year.  Probation works.

Sue Hall
Chair, Probation Chiefs Association

PCA response to Criminal Justice Joint Inspection report on transitions into adulthood in the criminal justice system

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The PCA has responded to the CJJI Report:  “Transitions: An inspection of the transition arrangements from youth to adult services in the CJS” (11th Oct 2012). The transition from being a young person to a mature adult is complex, with individuals having different levels of emotional intelligence, mental maturity and parental support. Continue reading here…

PCA and PA comment on Justice Secretary’s Party Conference speech

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Sebert Cox, Chairman of the Probation Association, and Sue Hall, Chair of the Probation Chiefs Association, said:

“The Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference spoke of prisons being a place to punish and reform offenders.

The Probation Chiefs Association and Probation Association believe prison is the right place for high risk dangerous offenders or those who have committed other serious offences. However, most offenders sentenced to 12 months or more in prison will spend half of their sentence on a licence managed by Probation in the community. There are also twice as many offenders sentenced to a community order compared to prison each year.

Therefore we would support ensuring the drivers of re-offending rightly highlighted  by the Secretary of State – substance misuse, mental health and employment – are also tackled in a community setting, where Probation is the key delivery agency. This would prevent offending by this group escalating to more serious crimes.

Chris Grayling reiterated the Ministerial commitment to introduce a punitive element into every community order. For community sentences to be most effective in reducing re-offending evidence shows that a mixture of punishment, reparation and rehabilitation is required. Punishment alone will not have the greatest impact on crime.

Our organisations also believe there is the potential to use electronic monitoring more effectively to monitor and rehabilitate offenders. We would like to see a more targeted and creative use of both curfew tagging and GPS tracking within integrated orders focusing on high risk and prolific offenders. This would be more effective and better value for money than its current widespread usage for low risk single order requirements.

Chris Grayling set out his plans to use a Payments by Results (PBR) approach in the justice sector to deliver reforms of the scale that have already rolled out in the welfare arena.

The Probation Chiefs Association and Probation Association recognises the contribution that other sectors and Payment by Results could make to improving the provision of probation services.

However, we understand the Government has decided to pause both the community and innovation PBR pilots while it considers how best to take the initiative forward. We agree with the Government’s previous position – that the introduction of PBR represents such a significant change in criminal justice policy that it requires testing. We would strongly urge that any PBR approach in the community is trialled and evaluated before it is rolled out. We believe that all sectors should have a role in PBR including the public sector.”

PCA/PA joint statement in response to NAPO press release (5th Oct 2012)

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In a joint statement responding to a press release by NAPO (5th Oct 2012), the Probation Chiefs Association and the Probation Association  said they were not ideologically opposed to competition and recognised that other sectors had contributions to make, providing Probation Trusts managed the process. Continue reading here…