Friday, 30 October 2015

Serious Further Offences

This on the BBC website:-

Serious crime by offenders monitored in the community increases

The number of serious crimes committed by violent and sex offenders being monitored after leaving prison has risen more than 28%, figures show. Some 222 offenders under supervision in the community were charged with crimes including murders, manslaughters or sexual offences in 2014/15.

More than 68,000 sexual and violent offenders are under such arrangements. The Ministry of Justice said such reoffending remained rare - but the probation union blamed privatisation.

The figures released by the ministry relate to offenders managed under a system called Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements, or Mappa. It requires probation services, the police and other agencies to supervise sexual and violent offenders. The precise level of monitoring depends on the each offender's circumstances and the potential risk they are judged to pose. 

'Massive jump'

Those deemed the highest risk must undergo regular and active assessment of their behaviour. Officials have the power to send someone back to jail. The figures show the number of serious further offences rose from 174 a year earlier.

Tania Bassett, national officer for the probation union NAPO, said: "We are starting to see the Mappa process falling apart in some areas, partly due to the privatisation of probation, which means the exchange in information between agencies is not quick enough. "This is a massive jump which deserves close analysis of the figures."

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At the weekend BBC 5 Live broadcast a programme that looked at the subject of how Mappa cases are currently being managed. This from the website:-

Violent offenders: Fears over management after release

Is the system in place to manage dangerous offenders when they are released from prison keeping people safe? Hetty Lewis's son, David Alun Lewis, was murdered in March 2014. "It was horrendous," she explains. "The liaison officers came on the Thursday night to tell us that he had been killed the previous evening. There were over 80 injuries to his head and his body and the man dumped him in the River Taff. It was a terrible, terrible, brutal death."

In the living room of her home in Ystrad Mynach in south Wales, she sits holding her husband Glyn's hand as they describe the impact of their son's murder. "I can't explain it. It's too emotional. Sometimes it feels as if it's a nightmare."

David was 45 when he was killed. Hetty remembers him as "very reserved, deep-thinking and very thoughtful". A worker in the nuclear industry, he spent much of his life battling alcoholism and depression and would sometimes stay in hostels. He was described in court as "vulnerable".

"He was a very, very intelligent young man," his mother told the BBC, "but he suffered a lot from anxiety and depression and consequently I think he took to drink. He left us a few days before he was murdered because the doctors stopped the medication and he was desperate. The only other thing was drink and he went down to stay at one of the hostels in Cardiff."

It was while he was staying in a homeless centre in the city that he met the man who was to kill him. Gareth Wyn Jones, then aged 28, had recently been released from prison. He was jailed for six years in 2011 following an attack on his former girlfriend, and had a history of drug and mental health problems.

Because of his conviction, Jones fell under the care of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, known as Mappas. The Mappa system is designed to assess and manage the risk posed by the most serious sexual and violent offenders, and reduce the chances of them re-offending. It requires the police, probation, prisons and other agencies to work together to assess the level of risk, share information and put a joint plan in place.

Jones told professionals that he was anxious about being let out, fearing he would relapse into drug abuse if placed into a homeless hostel. It was agreed that he needed permanent accommodation in order to access mental health treatment. But no accommodation was found and he was placed in a homeless centre in Cardiff without access to mental health support. Within five days of being released, he murdered David Lewis. A serious case review into the circumstances of the killing has been undertaken.

Latest available government figures show a rise in reoffending by criminals managed under the Mappa system. In 2013-14, 174 registered sex offenders and violent criminals under probation supervision were charged with a serious further offence - a 17% increase on the previous year, and the highest level in four years.

Figures show that this type of reoffending increased each year between 2010-11 - when 134 Mappa-eligible offenders, supervised by probation trusts, were charged - and 2012-13, when the figure was 149.

Five live Investigates heard concerns from anonymous probation staff that Mappa cases are not being given the scrutiny they need. One told the programme: "We spend 10 to 15 minutes discussing each case at Mappa when it used to be an hour per case."  Another told the programme that "trainees are now holding Mappa cases and don't have the experience to manage these". 

Concern

But there are also worries that some dangerous individuals are failing to be picked up by the system in the first place. Seventeen-year-old Georgia Williams was murdered in 2013 by Jamie Reynolds. Several years earlier he had attempted a similar attack on another young woman and had previously been assessed as "a significant risk to others".

While various agencies had been working with Reynolds since 2008, he was not under Mappa procedures. But a recently published serious case review suggests that he should have been. The report stated: "It is possible that Mappa management could have helped ensure a co-ordinated, multi-agency approach which may have led to a clearer understanding of risk issues and how they may have been managed."

Georgia's mother, Lynnette Williams, told the BBC: "If they had, then Reynolds would have been on the radar of these people. All sorts of agencies would then have been involved properly and perhaps he wouldn't be in the position he's in, as well as Georgia."

Earlier this week, HM Inspectorate of Probation published a wider review of the multi-agency arrangements. It found improvements in its processes, such as a lead agency taking charge of each case, agencies being held to account, and minutes of Mappa meetings improving. Chief inspector of probation Paul Wilson said: "Recommendations from the last inspection had been substantially implemented and overall the quality of work was improved."

However, the report noted continuing areas of concern. It found that risk management plans "were still not good enough". It also said that probation staff do not have enough computer terminals to access a central database holding information about offenders who pose a serious risk of harm.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the chief inspector of probation's report recognised that in the majority of cases offenders were being managed appropriately, but added that the ministry was already working to implement the report's recommendations. "Mappa manage some of the highest risk offenders in the community, and less than 1% go on to be charged with a serious further offence," the spokesman added.

Of the decision not to refer Jamie Reynolds to Mappa, the Ministry of Justice said: "This was a tragic case and we will address its findings in our review of the Mappa national guidance."

5 live Investigates was broadcast on Sunday 25 October. Listen online or download the programme podcast.

63 comments:

  1. Having read the serious case review for Reynolds it says West Mercia probation trust no direct role in the case. Also, whilst MAPPA could be improved, it is clear that the rise in SFOs is due to TR. I'm amazed at how much publicity this is getting - almost as if driven by MOJ to hide real cause of TR. We need to be clear about this or probation (or MAPPA) will be scapegoat for TR failings.

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  2. "We are starting to see the Mappa process falling apart in some areas, partly due to the privatisation of probation, which means the exchange in information between agencies is not quick enough. "This is a massive jump which deserves close analysis of the figures."

    Before making statements like the above, Napo should do its close analysis first and then maybe any resulting criticisms will have more weight. Likewise, the Radio 5 programme was on the sensational side.

    For most cases there are no formal multi-agency meetings. Of the 68,214 who were Mappa registered in March 2015, 66,641 were managed at Level 1. Therefore, only 1,573 were subject to any formal mullti-agency meetings.

    Of those who were convicted of further serious offences, 185 were from level 1, 36 level 2 and 1 from level 3.

    Over the years the number of cases managed at level 1 has increased. The overwhelming majority of Mappa registered are not managed through inter-agency working, so I don't see how privatisation or poor information sharing can be blamed or how these latest figures show that Mappa is not working.

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  3. Suddenly lots of mappa smoke & mirrors in the media. Wonder what they priming us for? Transferring mappa to police?

    On the wholly artificial premise of the original argument for NPS/CRC split, mappa shouldn't be affected by privatisation because CRC staff shouldn't be allowed anywhere near such cases, i.e. they are NPS cases. Reality (as predicted) is that NPS can't cope & risk escalation is being delayed or refused, hence CRCs are becoming increasingly involved... I doubt its for lack of computer terminals, more like a lack of experienced qualified staff. Wonder where those staff went? Shafted into the private sector, perhaps? Ignored when they raised exactly these concerns, labelled as "resistant to change", bullied & harassed out of the service. The lack of information exchange has always been a cultural issue with police & NHS, less so with children's services & probation UNTIL privatisation reared its ugly head. Suddenly the information can't be shared for commercially sensitive reasons, or it has to be charged for. Nothing to do with limited access to a "special" database. Mappa was a great idea - gather all professionals & agencies together, devise a plan & implement that plan - but it was hijacked by posturing, ambitious idiots who wanted to wield personal power, but since TR its been increasingly toothless & ineffective. Factor in the vicious benefit rules, lack of funding for supported housing, loss of probation, police, social services & mental health staff plus a reduction in managed hostel availability - what resources are left?

    Reap what you sow Noms/MoJ & don't point the finger at probation. You were the architects of & implemented TR, you opened the door & invited in the gatecrashers who are now plundering & blundering around, you ignored & rubbished the critics of TR.

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  4. In my office, the TR split immediately reduced the number of staff able to hold MAPPA cases by half. Many of those who were sifted into the CRC had more experience of MAPPA work but were sifted on the basis of dodgy data from a single day. The TR split dramatically reduced the capacity of both organisations to cope with their workloads by removing managers' abilities to juggle caseloads to cover for leave, sickness etc. No wonder the number of SFOs has increased.

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    1. The probation inspectorate recently examined the risk escalation and transfer process between the CRCs and NPS and found:

      'The assessment of whether a case has crossed a threshold between medium and high risk of serious harm is ultimately a judgement. We agreed with the judgement of the NPS to accept (or decline) the referral in all but one case. Even in this case, we felt that the decision was defensible'

      So the actual evidence, as opposed to the anecdotal, thus far shows that cases are being transferred appropriately.

      There is no evidence at the present time that the split has weakened the management of risk.

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    2. That is not actual evidence whatsoever that risk management is not weakened by TR. Risk management involves swift communication and joined up processes (reference Andrew Bridges SFO report) precisely the aspects of practice that TR has destroyed. It will be an accumulation of small things over time leading to the event, not some spot check of a few transferred cases.

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    3. Where is the evidence that the split has weakened the transfer of cases. There is no evidence of this

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    4. Andrew Bridges was the report author I believe, I think it was the Hanson and White report. Anon at 17.33

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    5. Hitting the target missing the point.

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    6. The Hanson and White case occurred when probation was integrated. So, bad things happened before TR. And, of course, communication is a weak link. It was before the split and it may get worse post-split.

      However, as yet there is no evidence that risk management has been damaged by TR. Evidence may well emerge in time, but it's not here yet. On risk, the Inspectorate looked at the transfer of escalating risk cases from CRCs to the NPS and concluded it was working – for now. If criticisms of TR are not evidence-based they will get short shrift.

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    7. Of course 'bad things' happened before TR - the report was a very thorough and clear investigation into how communication across various parts of the service fell down and how this could be addressed. From my on-going experience as I try to hold on in this storm is that these weaknesses are more likely under TR as communications are distorted under this artificial, farcical divide, and each part has its differing priorities.

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    8. TR weakens and distorts communication by its artificial divide between public and private. It has caused new forms of delay and confusion where they did not exist before, with unnecessarily complex processes, increased bureaucracy, loss of morale, loss of staff & their valuable knowledge and experience, & temp employees who know nothing about probation work. A perfect storm brewing.

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    9. Let us not forget that HMIProbation's assessment of risk escalation and transfer was based on a small number of cases inspected early on in the TR process.

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    10. HMIP inspected a process which primarily relates to risk assessment and potential reallocation of cases. There is little to nothing about the risk escalation process which actually links to risk management - in fact, it is more likely to work against effective risk management because it adds an extra layer of bureaucracy and delay.

      The only reason the risk escalation process exists is because of the false split between CRC and NPS caseloads. Using evidence that people can follow a process correctly nearly all of the time as evidence of effective risk management suggests that Anon 12:14 doesn't understand what risk management is - so they probably work at NOMS.

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  5. Are there stats for SFO 's in CRC cases ?

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    1. Commercial confidentiality. probably up too

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    2. There is this news report post-split about a SFO in a CRC and no doubt more will come to light as DV cases pose particular risks.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-2857412/Probation-changes-link-murders.html

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    3. Gove - sorry The Secretary of State has decreed SFO reports will be public documents....

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  6. I think it's unhealthy at how you won't even consider TR bring good in some respects. You bear all the hallmarks of delusional so I won't even bother anymore as you clearly don't like debate as all that makes you happy in TR OR NAPO bashing

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  7. Can you give examples please.

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  8. I have no problem at all with debate, but moronic one-liners designed to wind up and irritate, devoid of any evidence or argument, get deleted. Very simple to understand I think.

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    1. Buy I never used a one liner. I just said we need a balanced view of TR? Now things are settling down in CRCS, some really good work is happening

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    2. I'm really concerned why everyone is blogging on a Friday night about work. Don't you'll ave some clubs to hit????

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    3. Anon at 18:29 - then supply some evidence; some examples some narrative for fuck sake!

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    4. Suspect we are all relaxing with a drink and feel free to rant!

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  9. I can. TTG is working immensely in my area. I've seen so many positive outcomes for prisoners via TTG when they were never helped before. Plus people are really happy in my CRC. Well they are in my office.

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    1. Great to hear that - but I and most readers of this blog require something a bit more fullsome or your assertions will be treated with scepticism bordering on derision.

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    2. What more do you want? The TTG model in my area is sound and works. Prisoners needs are being met and positive outcomes are happening for a cohort of prisoners who have never had this level of support before. There are 21 CPAs so don't just assume it's crap all over England and Wales because your area isn't doing the business!

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    3. Anon 18:35 You can't get away with statements like that sounding as if straight from the PR department of Sodexo or Interserve - we need some narrative. Get writing a guest blog piece.

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    4. Ok I willl right a guest blog. I will outline what I think are all the positives of TR though I do accept it will only reflect on what's going on in my area and not nationwide as I've not seen what's happening outside my areas.

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    5. Excellent - look forward to it.

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    6. It would be a nice start if you could identify the area in which you work. I'd have thought that if things were indeed going as swimmingly as you claim, that the CRC wouldn't be backwards in coming forwards about this.

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    7. Y would they do that you idiot. They don't want to give away company secrets.

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    8. There's no ttg in my CRC. Nothing and pso's from within offices have been drafted to prisons to try fill the gaps

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  10. Jim, I'm 18.23, not meaning to wind up, probably not sufficiently clear, but am genuinely interested in hearing examples of what people think is good about what TR has brought.

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  11. I think pre TR probation offered to take on the under 12 months people at NO extra cost to the govt. I heard this from a concerned managers before privatisation. We could have been doing that.

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    1. Yes that's my understanding - but it was too late, not properly evidenced and lacked an effective means of putting the case to the government and other stakeholders. More importantly it wasn't politically acceptable!

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    2. Exactly, no profit there

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    3. PSS is a farce, many people don't want/need help. thankfully I can just see people every couple of months but its awkward making conversation when there's nothing to talk about.

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  12. Just one good example would be a start!

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  13. I think the focus on MAPPA is a ploy by MOJ to take focus away from the SFOs created as a direct link to the movement of cases through TR. It was an unsettling and unstable time for all involved with a huge amount (in our area anyway) of cases being transferred between officers. There will have been a spike in SFOs that can be directly attributed to that.

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    1. I don't think it will be a spike - unfortunately for the victims. Anecdotally we know the number of SFOs is increasing and we know where most SFOs come from - low and medium risk - the CRCs caseload and they are not even on the MAPPA radar. The move to telephone reporting and the lack of face to face contact for them is going to eat away at our core values. of reducing re-offending and protecting the public - and by public I don't mean some faceless group - I mean our families and our friends and the communities we live in. We are living in dark and scary times and I salute and praise all of you that are working to prevent this.

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    2. Indeed. Wasn't it once said that the relationship between officer and person on probation was central? We are human, contact needs to be face to face to be in any sense meaningful and productive. What is truly dark about this period of change for the worse is that we are currently being perceived as less than human, reduced to a number, to be counted and processed as if inanimate objects, profited from, whoever we are. Where is the humanity in all of this.

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    3. I fear there is a confusion here between core values and organisational aims."Protecting the public is an aim". Indeed it was a recent development in Probation history. Our core values may support us in achieving that. The danger is that we are drawn increasingly into practices in which core values are subverted by the aims which change with the times and political whims.

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  14. There have been less SFOs since the CRCs tool over than before the split. That's fact

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    1. Evidence for your "fact", please...

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    2. Simples. CRCs have only been in since February 2015 knob head

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    3. I really don't think that comment was called for 20:41, anon 20:20 just aked for evidence to support you statement. Really no need for abuse.

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    4. It was directed to 20.00 as he or she was clearly on a wind up so I was stating the obvious. Sorry no offence intended

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  15. And the type of offences falling into SFO category have been narrowed. You can do some pretty unpleasant things now that are no longer classed as SFO. At the same time CPS are under charging violent offences to the surprise and irritation of Judges. It's not difficult to see how the situation is being manipulated if you open your eyes.

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  16. Was at a meeting today and the blog was mentioned for 30 mins. Top brass are all over this blog. Staff been told not to blog and they can be detected. Not happy

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    1. I don't give a monkeys about 'top brass' (what a horrible phrase) . They don't frighten me. We, on the other hand, clearly frighten them. Discussed for a whole 30 mins. Just wow.

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  17. Wow 30 minutes!

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  18. The British public take a very dim view of companies who penalise whistle blowers.

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  19. How the hell can we be 'detected' if we posy anonymously from our personal phones or computers - that's some serious scaremongering and I await with jubilation the first time I'm brought to task for anything I've posted. :-)

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  20. Sorry 'post ' lol...

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  21. Jim, I have a guest blog idea. How can I send it to you? Can't wait for the pro ttg missive promised above. My CRC colleagues are entirely miserable and worried sick about their futures. From an NPS perspective ttg is virtually pointless. The risk assessment part of the BCS is not filled in as the staff responsible for completing them have been told not to complete it. The two PSO's who went to our Cat C local to do ttg tell me that they spend 90% of their time filling in pointless forms and there is no public sector housing provision to speak of in our area. Short sentence prisoners on release without accommodation are told to make a homelessness declaration and hope a direct access hostel bed is available that day. They used to be told that by prison resettlement. Now they're told the same thing by a CRC employee or sub contractor. The difference is that now some corporate tax dollar robber gets paid you and I's hard earned money for doing it. What a fucking joke. Sod this. It's Friday night. I'm off for a pint.

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    1. Contact details are on the profile page - jimbrown51@virginmedia.com

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    2. 22.49 it's a Saturday and I've got work. Got 5 ISPs due

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  22. You should not be going in on a saturday. Do you have a lot of toil?

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    1. I read ur comment and felt sick for you. Look after yourself as best you can in this difficult place we find ourselves in. I do all I can when I am in work for the people on my caseload and spend time with them and like you my machine feeding work escalates. We work in crazy circumstances with a system that is not fit forpurpose and with more and more basic admin tasks having to be completed by PO's. It is not manageable. It is not sustainable. Take care my friend you are not alone.

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