Thursday, 29 September 2016

TR and Women 2

On the day Napo return to Cardiff for their AGM, we have more evidence of the detrimental effect of TR supplied by the latest report from HM Probation Inspectorate into women's services. This is what the Howard League makes of it in their press release:-  

Transforming Rehabilitation programme puts women’s services under threat

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation’s thematic inspection report on women’s services, published today (Thursday 29 September).

The report makes clear that women’s services have deteriorated and are “under threat” following the implementation of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) programme, which saw the part-privatisation of probation.

Inspectors found that dedicated funding for women’s services had virtually disappeared under TR. As funding is no longer ring-fenced, provision is now discretionary and dependent upon local commissioning arrangements by privately-run Community Rehabilitation Companies.

The report states that women’s centres are particularly vulnerable under the new arrangements and some have already lost funding. This is in spite of the important role they play in turning women away from crime and helping them to rebuild their lives. Inspectors were concerned that these funding difficulties could lead to services being reduced or lost altogether.

Inspectors found that, in one in three women’s cases, the quality of probation work was not good enough. Particularly weak was work to address domestic abuse, sexual exploitation, and other forms of exploitation of women, such as obtaining drugs or alcohol for others.

The report adds that the efforts of probation staff have been hampered by a lack of suitable accommodation for women.

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The break-up of the public probation service, with a large part of it handed to 21 private companies, was supposed to turn lives around, reduce reoffending and make us all safer. Today’s report provides yet more evidence that this is not happening.

“The overhaul of probation was done with men in mind, and now we are seeing the results for a significant minority in the system: women. Women’s centres in the community, which have proved for many years to be successful in guiding women away from crime, are threatened with extinction. Other services are at risk. This is letting down the public and letting down women who are trying to change their lives.

“The Howard League warned that ministers were taking a huge risk by dismantling a service that was performing well. We remain of that view, and our own research on the impact of these reforms on women will be published in due course.”


I notice that the BBC are looking into TR next week:-

Next Tuesday @ 20:00 on Radio 4 38 minutes

Transforming Rehabilitation: At What Cost? File on 4

The split and part privatisation of the UK probation system in June 2014 saw huge changes to the service, with high risk offenders managed by the new National Probation Service and low to medium risk offenders managed by Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs).

Two years on, probation officers report a system that has been 'ripped apart', with two sides often failing to communicate. There are concerns over rising caseloads, falling staffing levels and the number of murders committed by offenders released from prison on licence.

File on 4 speaks to families who have lost loved ones, and hears how they have had to fight to find out the full extent of the failings of the probation system in their cases.

Charities report particular concerns over vulnerable women in the probation system, with many being recalled to prison for breaching probation orders, following short sentences for minor offences.

As Transforming Rehabilitation is scrutinised by the Public Accounts Committee and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation, File on 4 asks if the changes are putting the public at risk?

Reporter - Melanie Abbott
Producer - Ruth Evans.


  1. I'm just wondering why all this publicity and why now? There was enough to shout about at the time with SFOs rising amongst other horrors but the media coverage was close to zero. Now probation is everywhere in the news. I have to wonder if part of this is because someone up high wants it to be. Why would this be? Do CRCs want out of contracts having pocketed the modernisation funds and stripped the assets? Was this always the plan? Or is it something else?

    1. or the other way, look to privatize the rest high risk, victims work and hostels.

  2. Has anyone actually benefited from TR. Apart from those that received EVR. The whole lot is scandalous, what a mess. We have staff not being replaced, it almost feels like they want us to fail.

    1. I got promoted a few times if that counts having seen promotion blocked for years pre TR

    2. Well lucky you!

    3. Thanks 17.27. I deserved the promotions :)

  3. Through the gate for women would appear to not really exist at all according to this article.


    1. That is a good article from an organisation I had not seen anything from for quite some while.

      I probably was not paying attention properly, I have commented a little more here: -

    2. We have a reasonable societal view, Titanic resembled, about putting women and children first for various reasons but primarily because we assess that they are more vulnerable. That is why accounts such as this are shocking and newsworthy. It's a mistake to imagine that men by comparison are big enough and ugly enough, to coin a phrase, to get by without support. An indication of a failing system though is when the most vulnerable are let down in this way.

    3. Six in 10 women do not have homes to go to on release from prison, a new report published by the Prison Reform Trust and Women in Prison has found.

      6,700 women were released from prison in England and Wales in the year to March 2016. Without stable housing, it is harder for women to engage in employment and training, access support services, re-establish contact with children and families, and integrate successfully into the community. Inadequate provision of appropriate and safe accommodation increases the risk of reoffending.

      Ministry of Justice figures show that 45 per cent of women are reconvicted within one year of leaving prison. This rises to 58 per cent for those on sentences of less than 12 months.

      The report reveals a lack of clarity and consistency about responsibility for the housing of women offenders. It found limited suitable accommodation options for women, especially those with additional vulnerabilities such as substance misuse, mental health problems, and domestic abuse.

      Research suggests that women are more likely than men to lose their accommodation whilst in custody with around a third of women in prison losing their homes. The report found that women in prison were not being given enough advice and support to keep their tenancies.

      The report echoes concerns raised by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in a recent inspection of HMP Bronzefield, as well as the Communities and Local Government select committee inquiry into homelessness. At Bronzefield, inspectors found staff were providing women with tents and sleeping bags due to a lack of suitable accommodation for them to go to on release.

      A support worker quoted in the report from the charity Women in Prison said: “We are aware of a woman who had been imprisoned for theft, subsequently released homeless, was recalled for breach of Anti-Social Behaviour Order for sleeping in a park and then later released homeless again.”

      Women in trouble with the law may find themselves declared intentionally homeless by local authorities, deemed ineligible for housing, or cut off from housing benefit and evicted for rent arrears whilst in custody.

      Women are imprisoned further from their homes than men on average, and can experience greater difficulty in establishing a local connection to an area – often a precondition for local authority housing.

      While the statutory and policy frameworks differ in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, housing for women in the criminal justice system is a major problem across the UK. In Northern Ireland, for instance, an estimated 60 per cent of women prisoners have no home to go to on their release.

      The report says action is needed to ensure women in prison receive timely advice and information about their housing options and support to apply for housing and to sustain tenancies. Effective interagency communication and partnership between housing providers, women’s prisons, probation services and local authorities is essential.

    4. Commenting, Jenny Earle, director of the Prison Reform Trust’s programme to reduce women’s imprisonment said: “A tent and a sleeping bag are no answer to meeting the housing needs of women on release. Safe, secure accommodation is crucial in breaking that cycle of crime, and all the harm it causes to our communities, to victims, to the women involved and to their families. This report highlights the links between poor housing and bad outcomes for women and profiles ways in which local authorities, housing providers, the prison and probation service can work together to ensure women get the help they need to stay out of trouble.”

      Kate Paradine, Chief Executive of Women in Prison, said: “It’s an absolute battlefield for women who are leaving prison homeless to find even temporary accommodation for that first night. We know of women who are in and out of prison just for a roof over their heads and that the housing crisis is keeping reoffending rates high. Implementing the recommendations in this report would help enable women to take control of their lives and move forward, making an enormous difference to thousands of children, lift the pressure on the courts and prison service and save millions of pounds wasted on counterproductive custodial sentences.”

    5. Exactly right.

  4. Well as a woman ex-offender who staggered out of custody a year before TR came into force I can safely say that my OM was an incompetent nitwit before TR and she's still an incompetent nitwit who has provided zero help throughout the licence period and on occasion gone out of her way to make things a lot more difficult than they should have been considering I'm a low risk 1st time offender with no special licence conditions. TR may have brought the cracks to the surface but the issues were already there

  5. well done 15.36 are you in an operational role? if so, promoted from what to what to what ?


    1. Powerful, shameful, deeply saddening account.

  7. Heart breaking to hear of the horrors TR has on staff especially women.

    Heartened to hear Liz Dixon Napo stalwart telling London CRC to put their money where their BIONIC (Believe It Or Not I Care) mouth is and donate to Edridge Fund. NOW.