Thursday, 20 November 2014

Simon Hughes and Hot Air

Simon Hughes and the Liberal Democrats really are intent on rubbing salt into the wound they've helped the Tories inflict on the Probation Service. The junior justice minister is quoted at length in the Daily Mail in a pathetic attempt to try and redeem some semblance of liberal credentials and put some blue water between themselves and the 'nasty' half of the coalition. 

It takes real political gall to come up with this crap right at the very time you are fully complicit in destroying the Probation Service that would be able to deliver these aspirations of lowering the prison population. Well it won't wash Mr Hughes. It won't wash with us, the electorate and certainly not the Daily Mail and it just makes you look even more mendacious than normal:-
Scrap jail sentences of under one year, says Lib Dem justice minister
Jail sentences of less than a year should be abolished unless there are exceptional circumstances, a Liberal Democrat justice minister declared last night. Simon Hughes said there should be a legal presumption that no one goes to jail for less than 12 months, with criminals given community or suspended sentences instead.
But figures show such a move would mean 60,000 fewer criminals going to prison every year, including thousands of violent thugs, burglars, sex attackers and robbers. Over time it would lead to the halving of the current prison population of nearly 85,000, leaving tens of thousands of repeat criminals on the streets instead of behind bars.
Campaigners against soft justice pointed out that most of those given short prison terms had already been ‘let off’ with several non-custodial sentences. Victims groups say short prison sentences are essential to give them some respite from those making their lives a misery. Mr Hughes set out his views in a speech to prison reform campaigners.

He boasted in his speech about how his party had tamed the Conservatives in government by reducing the use of remand – ensuring more offenders are free on bail ahead of their trial. He also said Lib Dems had abolished the use of indeterminate prison sentences which allowed the most dangerous criminals to be locked up indefinitely because of the threat they posed to the public. And he said the Lib Dems had blocked Tory plans to double the maximum prison sentence which could be handed down in a magistrates’ court.
Mr Hughes said: ‘I believe that it is time for a statutory presumption against custodial sentences of under 12 months. 'And, where a court decides that there is a justification for their use, they must have to set out the exceptional circumstances which warranted the sentence.’

‘Instead, we need alternative, more effective ways to punish those who break the law in the community.’ He added: ‘This is not about soft options.’ ‘Forcing someone to confront their behaviour – and, where appropriate, make amends to those directly affected by their offending – can be tougher than languishing in a prison cell for days on end.’
Mr Hughes also challenged the Tory doctrine that ‘prison works’, first set out by then Tory Home Secretary Michael Howard in 1993. Since then, the prison population has increased from about 44,000 in the early 1990s to some 85,000 now. Tories point out that in the same period crime levels in Britain have plummeted.
An analysis of official sentencing figures carried out by the Mail shows what offences were committed by those who were jailed for less than a year over a five year period from 2009 to 2013. In 2013, some 59,322 offenders were given a jail term of less than 12 months. Over the five years from 2009 to 2013 that included a total of 2610 robbers, 8244 thieves, 12,572 violent thugs and 9252 burglars. It also included 1129 sex offenders convicted of assaults – the vast majority on women. Some 6566 thugs caught with a knife would also have escaped jail, as would some stalkers, kidnappers, and drug traffickers.
A Conservative source said: ‘Going soft on crime isn’t the way to sort out re-offending. ‘Letting criminals get away with not going to prison seems to be the Lib Dems’ latest wheeze which we don’t for a moment think is what the vast majority of the public want to see.’
Peter Cuthbertson, director of the Centre for Crime Prevention think tank said: ‘It is incredibly rare for anyone to go to prison without first committing many, many serious offences. ‘Sending far fewer of these serious, repeat offenders to prison would be an extremely dangerous experiment with public safety.’ 
‘The evidence is very clear. Short prison sentences have high re-offending rates, but so do people on community sentences and suspended sentences. ‘So the only sensible way to cut short prison sentences is to give criminals longer sentences. It’s once a criminal is in prison for two years or longer that we really see re-offending drop - and the public is completely protected in the mean time.’
(Mendacious - lying, untruthful, dishonest, deceitful, false, dissembling, insincere, disingenuous, hypocritical, fraudulent, double-dealing, two-faced, Janus-faced, two-timing, duplicitous, perjured, perfidious; untrue, fictitious, falsified, fabricated, fallacious, invented, made up, hollow; economical with the truth, terminologically inexact; unveracious.

53 comments:

  1. I did wonder if today's blog would focus on the pathetic standard of work done with the Client or would it be TR again or perhaps even Prisons?

    This blog needs to re-focus. Maybe you could band together and try and influence NAPO to change the actual, everyday working with Clients aspect of your employment?

    I have noted how good Probation seem to believe they are at unpicking anothers offence, without being able to notice or more than happy to turn a blind eye towards their own offensive nature...

    Perhaps a blog on your own working practices is overdue?

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    1. Perhaps you should redirect yourself to a blog that genuinely interests you rather than loafing around on this one?

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    2. Oh this does interest me, it interests me that the overwhelming vast majority of a blog on Probation is about privatization and prison.

      I thought that once upon a time you were supposed to help people other than helping yourselves and your masters to ££££?

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    3. To anon 07.08 if there are practuce issues you feel strongly about wouldn't it make sense to create your own blog or if you already have one,post a link here?

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    4. Yes Anon 07:08, can you be a bit more specific rather than making lazy, sweeping generalisations?

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    5. 07.33 - if you genuinely believe that this is about "helping yourselves and your masters to ££££", then you really have misunderstood many of the comments and observations on this blog.

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    6. @ 07:08

      I don't like you. I'm not sure what your agenda is, however, given that over the past few days, this being concurrent with the on going JR, you have done nothing but spread dissent, with a bias towards supporting the MoJ. As others have already pointed out, if you wish to further your own agenda, nobody forces you to come here and you can always set up your own blog to do this. Seeing as you have not, it does leave open the question of why not, one that people with draw their own answers from; I imagine many already have. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. From this point on I will endeavour to ignore your comments and I urge everyone to do the same. Trolling is trolling, even in a passive/aggressive form.

      END OF CORRESPONDANCE.

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    7. I kind of like it when someone goes 'off message'. TR is a worthy headline issue and the future of probation work is important. There were many working in probation who argued that it went off message itself when it went corporate and embraced a target and performance culture. That was the zeitgeist and I don't think the public services could do much about it. The road to TR was a long one and in part the probation service obediently marched towards the gunfire.

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    8. Ignoring the comments is the right response. Please don't bite and respond, because all that does is provide an oppertunity for the commentator to respond back.
      Lets just all focus on the legitimate issues discussed on the blog, and leave those who just want to play to have a game on their own.
      They'll soon get fed up when they haven't got anyone to play with.

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    9. I am sure you are right 09:23

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    10. do not feed the troll

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    11. 07:08 - if you want to see pathetic standards of work then just wait till Working Links et al get their grubby mitts on most of our former punters.

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    12. Current and former criminals with an external locus of control are kind of tragic , don't you think. 'It's everyone's fault but mine!'

      Simon Garden

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    13. Well Simon Garden, I have both an external and internal locus of control as do you and everybody else. "It's Grayling's fault, it's NAPO's fault, it's the Conservatives fault, it's NOMS fault" Perhaps it is in part, but it is you who have put yourself into the position where you are claiming it to be their fault. If you have a problem with the job you are doing then find a job where you don't have a problem. TR is as much a Probation Officers fault as it is any of the above mentioned, you let it happen to yourselves, as any criminal lets themselves commit crime.

      Good luck with the JR. :-)

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  2. The truth is that Con/Libs have made such a mess of everything, in such a cavalier way, whether its legal aid, prisons or probation, in attempt to dupe the electorate, that they no longer have any idea of whats going on or how to turn things around. All they know is that they've made a hugh mess.
    Unfortunately, even if they pulled the plug on all these disterous reforms, you're left with Humpty Dumpty syndrome, "all the kings horses and all the kings men, didn't know how to put Humpty back together again".
    And thats another truth. Everythings so broken by incompetence, and lack of foresight, and just plain stupidity, it would be almost impossible to get everything back in order again.
    Together the Con/Libs have destroyed a fully functioning CJS, where there's no benefit for anyone, least of all for the 'hard working tax payer'.
    Shame on the lot of you!!

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    1. Hear hear. I'm not convinced that the initial commenter is as benign as they make out. Must be a quiet morning in Petty France/Sodexo/Interserve etc.

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    2. I note too, that once again Grayling keeps his silence and makes no response to Hughes comments.
      He's been too quiet for too long!

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    3. Where is Grayling ?- his absence is like watching Psycho without the shower scene!

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  3. Interesting article here which may give bidders for TR food for thought.

    http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/nov/20/capita-avoid-public-service-contracts

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  4. I may have missed someone else mentioning this, but Ian's blog says that Unison are contributing to the JR fund. Hope it's a lot out of guilt.

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  5. As someone occasionally having to sentence an offender to immediate custody; an action which neither I nor my colleagues take without a most exhaustive discussion on why suspension is not an option, the opinions of the political overseers at Petty France bring nothing but despair and disbelief.

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  6. Simon Hughes want's an end to sentences of less then 12 months? Will that mean fewer people going to prison? Or more people being sentenced to 12 months or longer?
    It strikes me that theres a time bomb for the prisons ticking away within society at the moment, one which is about to have its fuse shortened.
    That bomb is that how ever many people are in prison, theres at least the same amount on licence serving the second half of their sentence in the community- and another 60,000 to be added with the <12 month group- all subject to recall.
    The prison population is not only governed by those being sent there by the courts, but also by the number subject to breach proceeding by probation service.
    In a world of profit making enterprise, it cannot be long before private companies realise that they have considerable influence on the ebb and flow of numbers on an already streached and crisis ridden prison service.
    That to me would seem to give the private sector considerable negotiating power over the MoJ when they find their contract difficult to deliver on.
    Just a thought!

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  7. Very informative consideration given here by the voluntry sector regarding its concerns with TR.
    Should be read.

    http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/probation-scheme-enters-crucial-negotiation-period/policy-and-politics/article/1322370

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    Replies
    1. They really haven't got a clue what they're signing up for have they?

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    2. Not a Scooby.

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  8. The standard of what the state service had been running at for years prior to TR was piss poor. If Working Links etc come in then they'd have to go some to get it worse.

    The idea that it would simply be a case of turning up to supervision only to be given another appointment rather than being sent on any "accredited by nobody" crap would be an improvement in service user care.

    Too many in Probation seem to think that they have some rarified gold standard ability to change anothers behaviour from offending to non-offending. Maybe you did once upon a time, perhaps in the 80's or something?

    The service is now filled with corporate types who have no conception of real holistic social work support, many more than happy to tick boxes and get paid to hit targets. That is all that matters and that is a positive. Better to do nothing than to risk creating more problems by placing them on some punitive trash that has every statistic in the world to say it does work and none whatsoever to say it doesn't.

    Customer care is a nonsense in Probation.

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    Replies
    1. You really have no idea how bad it's going to get after TR, have you?

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    2. Anon 17:00 really has fallen for Grayling's hype and I'm afraid, the corporate misunderstanding about probation. Re-offending rates have fallen and sadly, people simply do not understand that this is due to probation work delivered to very high standards over time producing results. Remember the Gold Medal? We truly were an award winning public service prior to TR.
      However, I sense the criticism is professional jealousy, we are the best to deliver probation work and it is done best within the public sector away from £profit being made for shareholders from the misery of victims. Crime does pay for the profiteers! "Customer Care" or do you mean Shareholder Value? Shame on you for criticising what you clearly do not understand.

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    3. Under the TR pay mechanism delivery of the accredited programmes attracts a higher payment than almost anything else.. Rest assured, accredited programmes are one aspect of probation delivery that will continue post TR.

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    4. You are missing my point. I am fully aware that Probation is best served (as with the majority of other public services) by the Public Sector, however if you are only doing the same interventions to the same low standard that the Private Sector would do then what makes the Public Sector better than the Private Sector? Surely what you do should be so very apparent that it is of a vastly superior quality that there would be no question of selling you off, the problem you have is that there are no evidences that what you have been doing with clients is anything better than what any Private firm could do with them. After CRC's are sold there will definitely be stats to back up that they are just as effective or more so than Public Sector Probation. Plus a tidy little profit for the shareholders...

      The whole Service is punitive, holistic social work is a million miles away from the reality of what you do and have been doing for a number of years.

      Accredited Programmes can be presented by anyone who can stick to script and follow a manual, there are millions of people who could do the job for far less than what those who do it now are on.

      Would there be a drop in standards? If so it can't be much of a drop, you have been delivering a piss poor service for a long time.

      I could get my mate to give me a gold standard badge as well.

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    5. Sweeping statements without reference to any evidence are the sort of thing I expect from clients in the pre-contemplation stage of the cycle of change.

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    6. Then you are a robot to your training who fails to think outside the box. That is the exact punitive response you can expect from the law enforcement service of Probaion.

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    7. @ Anon 17:59 Wow... just wow. You really don't get it at all, do you?

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    8. You complain about probation not being holistic social work, then moan when someone references the cycle of change. I think you just made yourself look a little foolish.

      If you've got a specific gripe, fine. Why not do something about it and write a blog for Jim to publish? He's offered plenty of times before, and I reckon most people who read this are open-minded enough to read it and consider their own practice in light of specific feedback.

      But offering vague, cryptic, and sanctimonious criticism is not getting anyone anywhere. You just sound like someone with an axe to grind who's not actually interested in changing anything.

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  9. When Michael Gove was in charge at the Department for Education, it was alleged that his Special Advisers (Spads) were running a Twitter account (@toryeducation I think) that was filled with abusive bile towards anyone who dared to question their Dear Leader. Since he's been shuffled off to Chief Whip, I wonder whether they've got bored and are now doing Failing's bidding instead?

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    1. Tweet on the @Probationofficer account which hinted at the MoJ employing 'tweeters' to sow dissent.
      Too many tweeters make a....

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  10. IF ANYONE HAS PREVIOUSLY PROVIDED EVIDENCE TO NAPO FOR USE IN THE CURRENT NAPO JR CHECK YOU E-MAILS NOW. INFORMATION REQUIRED BY END OF TODAY / FIRST THING TOMORROW MORNING. YES I AM SHOUTING. THANK YOU :-)

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  11. Just found Grayling! He's in Corby showing that he doesn't make decisions on gut feeling, he's more of a fact finder/ evidence based man!!
    A bloody propaganda tour I'm sure!

    http://m.northantstelegraph.co.uk/news/top-stories/justice-secretary-meets-magistrates-on-fact-finding-trip-to-corby-1-6429933

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    1. How did T4S miss that opportunity? Damn it!!

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  12. Dont be too surprised to learn that the SOS is planning a post election exit now that the fall guys (Allars and Payne) are in place and the patsies (probation staff) waiting in the wings....its the grassy knoll all over again..

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    1. i can see him leave department after the election, he has made such a massive fuck up that he would be happy to dump it in someone elses lap.

      What a tool.

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  13. Hat tip to Andrew Hatton:

    http://www.epsomguardian.co.uk/news/11615635.Prisoners_cleared_by_jury_of_staging__mackerel_mutiny_/

    I think a precedent has just been set!!

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    1. A brilliant and just verdict.

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  14. HI THERE ANON AT 17.50! YES! BUT ITS HEADED "STRICTLY PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL" so I am not shouting about it

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    1. Good point well made.

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  15. Thanks to all NAPO members providing information, you know who you are and we are soooo grateful to you.

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  16. The PM has to do something about Grayling now surely??

    http://www.surreycomet.co.uk/news/epsom/11616683.Former_prisons_minister_issues_warning_after_11_prisoners_cleared_of_mutiny/

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  17. Sorry to veer off topic, but why are the Tories moaning about immigration when they're selling our country off to the rest if the world?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/revealed-how-the-world-gets-rich-from-privatising-british-public-services-9874048.html

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  18. Not sure if you have covered this, but very relevant to PBR and to the sums currently being crunched at Purple Futures and Sodexo

    http://www.russellwebster.com/latest-reoffending-rates-best-for-a-decade/

    The point being that all areas have done quite well and some very well - hard luck for anyone wanting to turn a profit from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall, Essex, Gloucestershire, London, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and West Midlands, Thames Valley, Warwickshire, West Yorkshire, and York and North Yorkshire.as the PbR bar may be set too high to see an improvement. Really you need to buy low scoring areas.

    MoJ may find a way round it but thought for the 'successfull' (so far) bidders.

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    Replies
    1. good job the PbR baseline is set at 2011 then

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  19. Looking at internal NPS Probation Officer jobs. Got the following response 'Unfortunately we can not proceed with your application as this vacancy is only open to surplus staff'. How many surplus Probation Officers are there within the Civil Service? Utter madness.

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  20. Reference .Epsom News - He really is slimy as on old fish, however power to the 'mackerel mutiny'! Unfortunately my Colleagues in CRC are on a stress mutiny given the devastation that has occurred. If news of the World reporters have gone down as acting improper, then so should CG, he has a lot to answer for!

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