The game is up mate! It's time to face reality and do the honourable thing - follow your colleague Norman Baker and resign your ministerial post. Lets face it, you and the Liberal Democrats got it hopelessly wrong with probation and TR and are looking at electoral oblivion in just six months time.
Splitting the Probation Service in two has done no one any favours by creating havoc everywhere and to be honest it would have been far better if you'd have just let the Tories get on and try and privatise the whole lot. Instead, obviously knowing absolutely nothing about the Probation Service, you and Nick Clegg thought it was a clever wheeze to insist on a daft and dangerous split under the spurious guise of supervising the under 12 month custody people.
This can never be successfully achieved on the cheap through privatisation and you've been hood-winked by Graylings endless repeating of the '£46 pounds in their pocket' crap. Your only hope of salvaging something from the mess you've helped the Tories create is to admit you were wrong, pick an easy fight with your boss Chris Grayling, and heroically march out of the Ministry of Justice with head held high.
Now I know you think you've put enough blue water between yourself and the 'nasty party' by your belated outpourings in the Independent yesterday, but let me tell you, it really doesn't cut the mustard with us! We are not impressed with crocodile tears, belated thoughts about 'nasty' Chris Grayling or any plans you've dreamt up about stopping too many people going to prison. Unless we hear 'mea culpa' over TR, you have no friends in the Probation Service:-
Prisons Minister Simon Hughes hits out at Tories' 'sticking plaster solutions' for jail crisis
In an interview with The Independent, Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem Justice Minister, criticised his Tory boss Chris Grayling, for saying that “in many cases prison works”. He disputed the Justice Secretary’s claim that there is “no crisis” in overcrowded jails and admitted he was worried about the number of suicides and assaults. Mr Hughes insisted: “For a large number of people, prison hasn’t worked and isn’t working.”
Accusing the Tories of adopting “sticking plaster solutions”, Mr Hughes said the “revolving door” in which criminals often return to jail after their release meant more crimes and more victims. “This way madness lies,” he declared. “It is a complete dead end.”
His scathing criticism is the latest example of the Lib Dems distancing themselves from their Coalition partners in the run-up to next May’s general election. On Tuesday, The Independent revealed that Norman Baker was resigning as the Lib Dem minister at the Home Office after a series of disputes with Theresa May, the Home Secretary. Senior Tories have accused Nick Clegg of “desperation” after failing to revive his party’s dismal standing in the opinion polls. The Lib Dems insist they will continue to highlight the differences between the two parties.
Unlike Mr Baker, Mr Hughes will not resign but, after 11 months at the Ministry of Justice, has drawn up a radical blueprint which could halve the 85,000 prison population in England and Wales through a dramatic reduction in the number of people serving short jail terms. They would serve community-based punishments instead.Mr Hughes, you seem unable to recognise that this aspiration is just so much hot air, not least because you've been party to smashing the award-winning probation mechanism that would be necessary to fulfil this promise and have replaced it with utter chaos.
It costs £35,000 a year to keep someone in jail. He admitted his plan to halve the population would not halve the £3.3bn prisons budget but insisted it would yield significant savings because the alternatives were cheaper. “Every time someone is outside, they have a chance to work and provide for their families. It is a win-win all the time with fewer people inside,” he said.
In another part of the Independent we learn more about the ideas:-
Mr Hughes, who insists he does not oppose long sentences for serious crimes, argues that the answer is to halve the 85,000 prison population by dramatically reducing the number of short sentences. Last year, 60 per cent of women sent to prison were sentenced to six months or less – up from a third since 1993.
The Liberal Democrats’ former deputy leader has responsibility for women’s prisons and is pushing a pilot scheme in the North West aimed at ensuring more community sentences through close liaison between the police and local authorities. He judged it a “huge success” and hoped it will eventually go nationwide.
He would like to extend the same approach to men. But he does not have overall responsibility for prisons and so faces a roadblock in the shape of Chris Grayling, his Conservative departmental boss as Justice Secretary.But you are a disgrace sir! What a bloody cheek "close liaison between the police and local authorities" and conspicuously no mention of probation at all!
“I have no complaint about the way we discuss things around the ministerial table,” said Mr Hughes. “My voice is listened to. I make my arguments. I win some, I don’t win them all.” He enjoys some power to block – and scuppered David Cameron’s plan to double the maximum jail term magistrates can impose to one year.What a fairy story! Your time is up Mr Hughes. Just go!