An attempt to help explain the mysteries and magic that are part and parcel of 'probation'.
manages to be both shameful and shaming....well done NOMS/ Ian Blakeman
NOMS have form for thishttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-to-chief-executive-of-howard-league-for-penal-reform
Wonder how G4S feel about this? According to Ms Crook G4S invited her, presumably in the knowledge of who she is and what she does. If I were G4S management I'd be furious that NOMS have interfered in this way, like an angry parent: "For goodness sakes, child, you know you're not allowed to play with Frances. She's a naughty girl who will get you into trouble. Now I'm going to have to write and tell her she can't come to your party!" Wonder if they've grounded the G4S manager for a week, or stopped their pocket-money?Pity NOMS don't feel it so important to be so meticulous about the fraudulent & abusive behaviours of their private sector friends.
G4S is a private company even though they have public sector comments so are therefore able to invite whoever they want to visit their facilities without NOMS permission. Or did we become some sort of KGB monitored secretly controlled state and I just missed the announcement?
That should be public sector contracts. My brain is obviously not switched on yet
I hope G4S have the guts to say 'P...off!' to NOMS. We should be blazing this info to the public. It reveals a huge story of the fear NOMS feel that the Howard League's beliefs are actually the truth!! And the public of course, must be protected from things which may frighten them, for their own good of course, like the govt's denials of strange things going on in space.
I like the idea - perhaps NOMS are closet creationists? Their explanation for the eclipse would be interesting...
Something I missed from 2014:"The Government has changed the rules to preclude all Academies and Free Schools, both those that already exist and those that will open in the future, from teaching pseudoscientific ideas such as creationism as scientifically valid. The changes have been made through extending an explicit ban to all future Academies and Free Schools, but also by clarifying that it believes the requirement to teach a broad and balanced curriculum means no existing Academies and Free Schools can teach pseudoscience either."
They might have Government contracts, but they are not G4S facilities - they are Government facilities run by G4S. That is why it is Her Majesty's Prison Oakwood.
She's a Crook - and we all know how much NOMS despise crooks.
I think I I'll write to Mr Blakeman, to ask why g4s are not permitted to proudly invite Frances Cook to see their achievement! Better do it before 31/3/2015, after which I am not allowed to exercise my freedom of speech, cos I'm a civil servant!
Such a decision is clearly above Blakemans pay grade even though he is director, and I think considerable fall out may occur over this decision.He will I think find himself holding the sticky end of the stick on this one!
Absolutely, this has the whiff of Grayling all over it.
we should all write to Mr Blakeman. I am retired so haven't been gagged. I know there are a few other retireds out there too, who read this. so get your fingers going.And then we tell the press what we have done. Ask him what he is frightened about. As the charity's whole purpose is to ensure safe standards in the prison system, what does he fear will be revealed? Not THE TRUTH surely??Come on, let's go for it! What do you think JIm?
Her Majestys Prison?Maybe its time for a few letters to Her Majesty?
"Not in One's name"
just noticed that 2 lines are scribbled out, on Blakeman's letter, under his address. Is that his email address? And has the source of the letter masked it, or did you do it Jim? I'm wondering why .
Probably his email address and/or phone number. They were scribbled out in the original tweet from Frances Crook - it would be unfair to broadcast someone's contact details on the internet, regardless of how idiotic a decision it was.
I assumed that, but then thought, why delete that when his address is published? Presumably because a letter would be vetted by admin for someone else to deal with.But then the same could be done with emails and phone calls, I'm sure he won't get his direct number printed on an official letter..
Did the Howard league's 2008 Handbook of Community Sentences ever get an airing on this blog? Here's part of Ms Crook's opening gambit..."Last year saw the centenary of the probation service. Sadly what was once a powerful institution for good has been undermined by the creation of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and its target driven culture. In January 2008, a restructuring of NOMS then saw the probation and prison services merged. From the chief executive down to area management, the ‘winner’ of this merger has undoubtedly been the prison service and its emphasis on centralised accountability. If the message being sent out appears questionable – that the balance between custodial and community solutions is weighted in favour of the jailers – it only reflects the lack of vision coming from government. Panicked exhortations from ministers to the courts not to send more people to overstuffed jails means nothing without a coherent strategy that recognises the complexity and variety of offending behaviour and appropriate community-based responses to this. As a result, an emphasis on monitoring offenders in the community has taken precedence over provision of guidance or direction on housing, social services and other needs.We are all aware of the massive strains of overcrowding on the prison service but what receives less attention is the equally serious overcrowding that afflicts probation. Probation officers face ever-mounting caseloads without the resources to always meet demand. If there is to be any benefit from prisons and probation being brought together, it is that the common pressures between the two are properly acknowledged and service delivery is co-ordinated to improve affairs.The Howard League for Penal Reform has conducted research (The Howard League for Penal Reform 2007) demonstrating that community sentences can reduce reoffending by up to 22% compared with short custodial sentences of up to 12 months. But while community sentences can be much more effective than short spells in prison, they are all too often poorly resourced and lack real political backing from the government. The result is a dearth of public confidence in community-based solutions to crime......This handbook concentrates on practice and ‘on the ground’ solutions. More broadly, what is required is a restructured and properly resourced probation service, a new organisation focused on delivering locally tailored solutions to a national standard. Bringing prisons and probation together, as the government has, is not the answer. The probation service needs its own fresh identity, indeed a champion should be appointed who can be the public face of community sentences – an individual accountable for the success or failure of the system, building up trust and public confidence in community-based solutions.The new organisation, which we have suggested should be renamed the Resolution Service, would work with both offenders and victims of crime. The positive reactions to restorative justice programmes from victims highlight how the solutions to crime are not simply about punishing, or indeed rehabilitating, the offender. It is also about engaging with victims to bring them resolution and we believe that restorative justice paves the way forward."
I think Frances should attend the prison visit as planned - with a film crew.
This decision is a gift for both Frances Crook and G4S.G4S can say despite all of the adverse publicity and reputational damage its incurred, its still prepared to allow agencies that may be critical of its operational models to view and comment freely on its practices-nothing to hide here Sir!Frances is in a possition to claim "public censorship" of the real chaos in our prison system by denying her access, getting rid of Nick Hardwick because he tells the truth, and Graylings failed attempts to manipulate his replacement.On the other hand, NOMs (Grayling really), has opened up a can of worms for itself, and I think personally, legitimised all the critisisms from the Howard League for the past two years.There can be no other conclusion drawn, things are so dire through out the prison estate that no one but those who will lie about what they see will be allowed access.This is another ill thought out idea from the MoJ, and IMHO seriously stupid!
And the next time G4S have problems and the government are pointing their finger at their failings, the line surely has to be,"We would like to engage more with external agencies that have a long term understanding of the operational needs for safe and productive prison practices.Unfortunately, the government will not allow us to do so".Well done NOMs!
That assumes that the Howard League know anything very much about running prisons. Which they don't.
This is another example of how far away from the truth this conservative/liberal democrat governments rhetoric is with regards openness and accessable to the people they claim to represent.They lie and cover up they really have to go In May for the good of the country
I think Ms Crook could yet be the saviour of probation. If the Howard League were to commission and publish truly independent research about the NOMS failure and how to re-form our penal system (geddit?), it would have gravitas. I would contribute to a research fund and so I would venture would many who read and participate on this blog. May be the HL is now THE voice, not NAPO and certainly NOT the Probation Institute.A PO
I'm going to a debate next week at our local Uni where someone from Howard league Head Office will be there. Already made contact with him on twitter. Debate mainly about prisons but i will be sure to raise the issue of probation
I have just found an astonishing book - google ' the Prisoner Funder Directory' by Ian Hardman, NOMS, with a foreword by Ian Blakeman, (yes, THAT one) . Rather like the old thick 'Charities Directory' which Probation was provided with in days of yore, it is a 162 page directory of every charity which could - maybe- be able to assist prisoners' every need to enable them to resettle and secure accommodation, education, interests, and every other thing you might not have thought of. There are several pages (repeated) on universal credit, and lists 4 situations when you may be excused missing appts - short sickness, domestic violence victim, carer or home crisis, and another which I can't remember. Try telling that to the joker on the other side of the desk, when they slam a sanction on you.. It is a well researched, well structured effort, printed this year, and on the last page it says prisoners can purchase it for a modest sum! But I was never aware that the prisons had lists of charities when I was a PO, as it was always expected that Probation would sort out charitable requests. Unsurprisingly, many of these charities and other organisations have stringent provisos attached to qualifying for grants or loans, with the decision left to the advisor (!), and of course there is the requirement to spend 35 hours a week looking for work in order to get universal credit. So every minute of an equivalent full time job is meant to be spent searching and searching and searching - Garbage! Do they give you money for phone calls, computer access, stationery, stamps, travel, interview clothes? Oops I forgot - there is sure to be a charity in the book which will do that very thing - as long as you co-operate with the provisos.Are you aware of this amazing document, and why has Probation not got access - or have you?
I've been around a long time and never heard of it. Talking of directories - what's going to happen to the NAPO directory - I always found it useful for addresses of institutions. If our IT was not so restrictive I could google things but we can just about get the BBC website.
NAPO directory is all but gone, AFAIK.
"Prisoner Funder Directory 2015THIS DIRECTORY IS: Published by The Hardman Trust Designed by AFX Design Ltd and Wolf Design Ltd Printed by Ludo Press Ltd Distributed by Inside Time, the publisher of insidetime, the national newspaper for prisoners and detainees Sponsored by The Bromley Trust A copy of the Prisoner Funder Directory 2015 will be included in each bundle of the March 2015 edition of insidetime sent to the librarian of every prison in the UK.For the sake of readability many of the website links that appear in the printed version will only take you to the source's homepage. If you are able to use the online version of the directory you will be able to click on the full links which should take you straight to the referenced website pages.The online directory is updated throughout the year and it is possible to use the search and filtering functions in order to gain easier access to information on organisations that may be able to help you. To access the directory online, visit the website www.prisonerfunder.org.ukA pdf version of the directory is also available on the Virtual Campus in over 100 prisons that subscribe to the Virtual Campus.The Virtual Campus is a secure web-based service that allows access to a wide range of learning and resources. For further details of the Virtual Campus and how you may be able to access it, please speak to the local Virtual Campus Champion in your establishment or the local Education Manager."http://directory.prisonerfunder.org.uk/directory/- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -=- - - - - - - - "The Hardman TrustRegistered Charity No. 1042715 I Telephone: 01983 550355 I Email: email@example.comWorking to help offenders re-integrate into societyOur HistoryThe Trust was founded in 1994 by Lt Col. The Revd. Guy Armstrong OBE who had a long association with HMP Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight as a prison chaplain.The Trust was named after Governor V, David Hardman of Parkhurst Prison who died just before the Trust was founded. He was much respected and admired by both staff and prisoners.Guy Armstrong died in 2002, and during his life served as an army officer and later as an Anglican priest. When speaking of his working life, Guy said on a number of occasions that founding the Hardman Trust was the best thing he had ever done.http://www.hardmantrust.org.uk/index.php "
Sorry for going on re 'Prisoner Funder Directory'. But I have checked the websites again, and this book was produced by the Hardman Trust annually. as far back as 2011, that one having 119 pages, covering info and advice, and assistance- practical and financial, for prisoners and ex-offenders, with a handful of directories provided free to every prison in the country, and listing organisations on a much larger scale to what Probation had info on. One example is a charity which offered up to £2500 to people who were and had been formally supported in the community for at least 6 months, towards setting up a business, and necessary equipment. (a bit like the Princes Trust)Sounds like a CRCs' embryo, who have since claimed the idea of referral to voluntary and charitable organisations as their own, conveniently ignorant that Probation had already been doing that for years. And why were these directories never made available to Probation? And why did the prisons expect Probation to seek out financial support for released prisoners? Presumably because no PO's or personal officers in prison had sight of the Directory!
As far as I'm aware, last ever Probn Diry was published 2013. Don't know why... Demise of OwenWells publishers maybe? Trusts choice of using MoJ website Epic led to end of Probn Bulletin (jobsheet).
Maybe it was the demise of Owen Wells himself - one of Napo's rousing conference speakers in the seventies and the eighties, even more entertaining and accurate than Ron Lewis!
Tomorrow's Mail front page: 'Star Tory candidate plotted with race thugs to stage fake EDL demi in cynical bid to win votes'
How desperately sad, if it proves to be true:"A Tory election candidate has been suspended for allegedly plotting to win votes by taking credit for stopping an EDL protest.Afzal Amin is accused by the Mail on Sunday of collaborating with the English Defence League (EDL) to announce a protest march against the building of a "mega-mosque".The plan was for the protest to be scrapped with Mr Amin taking credit for defusing the situation, the newspaper reports.Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson reportedly blew the whistle on the claimsThe candidate is said to have outlined his plan to former EDL leader Tommy Robinson and current EDL chairman Steve Eddowes at an Indian restaurant in Birmingham on Monday, weeks after a real EDL demonstration in Dudley which led to 30 arrests. "This is my fantasy," he says in secretly recorded footage. "If I could demonstrate to the people in Dudley that I can be a positive voice for community cohesion... then that would help me a lot in the forthcoming election."
There he was, Tommy Robinson, trying to tell us he had seen the light and was no longer involved with the EDL! Well perhaps a benevolent gaurdian angle, but I think not?