Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Art of Understatement

Thanks to Russell Webster for drawing our attention to the most-recently published official re-offending rates for the years up to September 2014 and therefore prior to the break-up of Probation under Chris Grayling's disastrous 'Transforming Rehabilitation'.

As Russell notes:-
Probation supervision
The proven reoffending rate for adult offenders starting a court order (Community sentence or Suspended Sentence Order) was 33.2%, a fall of 6.7 percentage points since 2003, and a decrease of 1.0 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months.
Released prisoners
The proven reoffending rate for adult offenders released from custody in October 2013 to September 2014 was 45.5%. This represents a fall of 6.0 percentage points since 2003 and a small increase of 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months. Since 2004, the overall rate for those released from custody has remained relatively stable at around 45% to 49%.
The rate for those released from short sentences has been consistently higher compared to those released from longer sentences. Adults who served sentences of less than 12 months reoffended at a rate of 59.7%, compared to 33.4% for those who served determinate sentences of 12 months or more.
The trends for those released from short and long sentences have both remained broadly flat since 2005 and are consistent with the overall trend. 
overall offending to Sept 2014

So, here we have yet more confirmation of the extremely weak case the government had to set about completely smashing-up the probation service that was performing well at the time. The probation privateers would do well to take note of Russell's somewhat under-stated conclusion:-
As we have seen, these rates have more or less stabilised over the last decade although it is interesting to note that the drop in reoffending for those under probation supervision may make payment by results targets for the new private probation providers more difficult to achieve.


  1. Conclusion
    As we have seen, these rates have more or less stabilised over the last decade although it is interesting to note that the drop in reoffending for those under probation supervision may make payment by results targets for the new private probation providers more difficult to achieve.

    The troubled families program had 100% success rate, and privateers that were involved with that must have had a 100% pay out as a consequence of the 100% success.
    Although the privateers are charged with reducing Reiff ending rates, it's only part of the contract. That would be a 10 year contract too.
    There'll a thousand different ways to present (or manufacture) 'results' that warrant a claim for payment.
    If they have to make staff work from a lap top from Starbucks to make profits to keep their shareholders happy, then that's what they'll do.
    Statistics and how to manipulate them for personal and maximum advantage is their game. And they're bloody good at it to.
    Whether Reoffending rates fall or not, the privateers will get their money, and when the 10 year contracts are up, there'll still be some so entrenched in licking the bottom of the bowl they'll have to be dragged away by their ankles.
    The privateers will get their money, nothing surer.


    1. Sorry for that rant Jim, and to anyone else that may take exception to the above. I just get so angry at private companies profiting from social problems. Social problems that I whole heartedly believe should be the responsibility of the state.
      To me, it's all academic whether they're paid for results or just paid. The reality is the government have handed your profession to predatory privateers to detach responsibility from the state. Payment by result was just a way of selling it to the public. Whether the results are achieved or not is really academic, it was never about results or problem solving, it was simply an exercise in shrinking the state.


    2. 'Getafix' No apology needed - we're an eclectic mix here and many would support your viewpoint wholeheartedly.

  2. Lets not let facts get in the way of ideology Grayling and cohorts. Privatise on for all its worth in your back pockets in time minsters.
    I can tell you this as a practitioner in a directionless clueless CRC in the west its gonna end in tears and handed back it an unmitigated disaster

    1. I wonder whether it will make any difference at all. Crime has been falling for years and the reasons for this decline go beyond what happens in the criminal justice system. The CRCs and the NPS will be a more miserable place to work, wages will fall and staff turnover will rise, but whether any of this will have any bearing on crime trends is far from clear.

    2. With the huge wrong doings that's been exposed by the likes of G4S and Serco, and continually being exposed, there's been no rush to terminate their government contracts. They may have paid some fines, but they're still drawing considerable rewards from the contracts they have. Otherwise they'd be long gone.
      Handing back a CRC I think is wishful thinking. If the current contractors need to go, then it'll just be sold off to another shite squeeze a penny private company that haven't any better idea of how to run things then the company they get the office keys off!

    3. Also in the middle area of the country, dangerous farce is an understatement.

    4. Netnipper.

      I'm of the opinion that what constitutes a crime has become very blurred. There's obviously some that are very clearly, and rightly defined as breaches of the law and defined as a crime.
      But someone that breaks a window of a beautiful victorian pub gets fined and sent to prison, yet a private company can come along, knock the whole bloody thing down, replace it with some shambolic overpriced block for students, and they get paid for it.
      Pinch half a dozen shirts from British Home Stores and you'll get fined and sent to prison. Yet Philip Green can steal millions from the pension fund and nothing happens to him.
      The single mum working a few hours cash in hand in the local corner shop whilst claiming benefit gets fined and sent to prison for ripping of the tax payer, whilst huge corporations are provided with ways and loopholes to avoid paying any tax at all.
      If you sell something that doesn't belong to you, you get fined and sent to prison, yet the government can sell off any service they like that belongs to the public with no fear of consequence.
      You could almost be forgiven for thinking that crime rates have fallen because they've been monopolised by the rich and powerful, and they've legitimised it for themselves.


    5. Very clearly put, and so very true.

    6. Getafix, I agree with all the examples you give of behaviours that gets criminalised and those morally bad behaviours that don't. Crime does not exist independently – we create it through social constructions. Whether it's the age of consent, the laws relating to homosexuality, the recent French criminalisation of clothing with the ban on wearing a burkini on the beach and countless other examples, crime is socially defined and reflects changing social attitudes and the interests of the ruling class. So just because there happens to be a downward trend in so-called traditional crimes, does not mean there is less crime being perpetrated. It all depends on your point of view. It's not surprising that white collar crime gets an easy ride in capitalist societies.

  3. Interserve are auditing casefiles any that fail then a larger sample will be checked to see if its a one-off or bad case management. It's draconian, if the sample proves the latter then we are being put on personal development plans which in other words is the 1st rung of the Capability Procedure. Are we not under enough stress and are Interserve deliberately trying to get rid of staff? If Yvonne Thomas reads this I would ask you to stop this now - we are audited to death what with targets for this that and the other. I absolutely despair.

    1. Which crc are you in? This isn't a 'central' directive but there are some quality issues in some very local areas, and we're damned if we uphold standards, and damned if we don't. Let me know where and I'll find out why.
      Yvonne Thomas

  4. What a nightmare for you all with that auditing. As for the managers they will be up to their eyeballs having to check so many cases. They are likely to find a lot not up to scratch. And think of all the work involved for them in getting capacity procedures off the ground. All that extra supervision, all those detailed supervision notes, pointing to all those shortcomings. How are they all going to manage to get all that work done? While they are busy poring over the records, anxiety will rise among the staff, anxious to do things properly. There will be a queue at the managers door, staff will want to check they are living up to expectations. The manager's emails will quadruple with anxious queries from staff. No sooner does manager succeed in batting balls into others' courts than he finds a myriad more landing in his own. Eventually manager gets his /her capability procedures mixed up with his /her disciplinarians. It becomes a challenge to find a case which meets all the standards. Manager gets fed up and leaves. It is amazing what can be achieved if staff on the ground all work together

    1. A vision of beauty, i applaud you!

    2. If anyone feels mistreated or discriminated then remember there's organisations that can help.

    3. Or just ring The Samaritans...

    4. The Tories have handed the contract for the government's Equality Advisory and Support Service discrimination helpline to notorious privatisers G4S. Sue Powell takes a look at the outsourcers' record...
      Imagine the job description.

      The Equality Advisory and Support Service helps people facing human rights issues or dis-crimination on the grounds of disability, race, gender and other forms of discrimination.

      For example, supporting people denied housing or made redundant due to race, sexual orientation, age or disability. We seek a trustworthy, supportive and understanding manager to run our helpline at a time when hate crime is increasing.

      And now, the successful applicant's CV...


      1901 - Predecessor private security firm founded in Denmark.
      1991 - Started running the UK's first privatised prison.
      1998 - Began operating the UK's privatised children's prisons or 'secure training centres'.
      2004 - A 'restrained' 15-year-old died in one of our prisons.
      2007-10 - Claimed parking fines as business expenses to avoid £580,000 in corporation tax.
      2010 - Unlawfully killed a father of five during deportation from UK. Our military wing was criticised by the US Senate's Armed Services Committee and the UN watchdog Global Policy Forum.
      2012 - Senate and UN criticise us again.
      Meanwhile, in Israel-Palestine, helped the Israeli state run several detention centres for Palestinians, and provided police HQ with security equipment. The Guardian reported that Cell 36 at al-Jalameh prison holds children.

      Cashed in on Canada's asylum crackdown.

      Part of the UK Olympics security fiasco.

      2014 - Saw out a mass hunger strike of jailed Palestinians.
      Investigated by the UK's Serious Fraud Office and criticised in parliament for charging for electronic tags on released and deceased offenders.

      2014 - Sold our subsidiary which had been providing 'cleaning and facilities' services at Guantánamo Bay.
      Found to use disciplinary techniques in our prisons including tipping a pregnant woman's wheelchair while holding her feet.

      2015 - Had to sack at least six members of staff at a young offenders' facility after they attracted too much heat. Ofsted reported drug use while on duty, racism and humiliation of children.
      Accused of torturing South African prisoners.

      Our police control room made bogus 999 calls to hit targets.

      Our patient transport service in Kent left a dialysis patient stranded for hours.

      2016 - Lost our appeal over tax avoidance.
      Skills - Corner-cutting, over-charging, under-training, worker exploitation, negligence, racism, brutality.
      Referees - UK government (estimated £4 billion of contracts by 2012), other governments looking to privatise anything all over the planet

    5. Interserve Management/PF at its best......

      A woman in a hot air balloon realised she was lost. She reduced altitude and spotted a man below. She descended a bit more and shouted "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am". The man below replied " You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.
      "You must be a technician" said the balloonist.
      "I am" replied the man "how did you know".
      "Well" answered the balloonist, "everything you have told me is probably technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information and the fact is, I'm still lost;
      Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip with your talk".
      The man below responded " You must be in management". "I am" replied the balloonist, but how did you know?" "Well" said the man, " You don't know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you air , due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my $$%%%%* fault!!

      (Fits to any PF/Interserve locale, not gender specific, all are interchangeable but the style is the same).