Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Grayling's Promises

Remember this from October 2013:-



Now we have this from the BBC website:-

Prisoner resettlement scheme raises concerns

A flagship government policy to support and supervise inmates leaving jail has been severely criticised by inspectors. The chief inspectors of probation and prisons for England and Wales said the "Through the Gate" scheme for offenders serving prison terms of less than 12 months was failing to find them jobs. In some cases the public was being put at risk, their joint report said.

Ministers said a review of the reforms set up by Chris Grayling when he was justice secretary was taking place.

The 2014 overhaul aimed to help provide short-sentence prisoners with a mentor, a place to stay and training or a job. All prisoners sentenced to terms of a year or less are now subject to 12 months of supervision on release. High-risk offenders come under the supervision of the National Probation Service, with the remaining work assigned to 21 newly-created Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs).

But of 86 offenders whose cases were examined in detail by inspectors, the report said only a minority had found accommodation through the scheme, just one had been assigned a mentor, and none had secured employment. "Public protection work around short sentence prisoners is weak, and this is a systemic problem," they said.


Inspectors said re-offending rates among the former prisoners were "concerning" and the risk of harm they posed was not always recognised, meaning victims - particularly in cases of domestic abuse - were not always protected. In one case, a registered sex offender disappeared after being released without anywhere to live. While the picture was more positive for women leaving prison, the report said many probation officers held "an almost fatalistic acceptance of the likelihood of failure".

The inspectors recommended ministers should review the contractual requirements to "better incentivise CRCs to develop their approach to the successful resettlement of prisoners". HM Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said: "There is still the potential for change that government and others wish to see. "But turning prisoners' lives around is difficult, and success in individual cases is not guaranteed, even when everything possible is done, particular for those with mental illness or addictions."

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said: "We are already carrying out a comprehensive review of our probation reforms to improve outcomes for offenders and communities." He added: "Public protection is our top priority and we will not hesitate to take the necessary action to make sure our vital reforms are being delivered to reduce re-offending, cut crime and prevent future victims."


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Here we have a Napo press release:-

HMI Probation report on the provision of Through the Gate resettlement services

The largest union in the probation service in England and Wales has responded to the joint report by HM Chief Inspectors of Probation and Prisons on Through the Gate resettlement services for short-term prisoners, published today (Tuesday 4 October).

The report from Dame Glenys Stacey who addressed Napo's annual conference last week, covers the findings of her independent directorate into the impact of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reforms (TR), under which all prisoners sentenced to 12 months or less are now subject to 12 months’ supervision by probation services on release.

The TR reforms involved the break-up of the public probation service, with a large part of it handed to 21 privately-run Community Rehabilitation Companies who are now funded by the taxpayer to provide support for offenders who pass ‘Through the Gate’ from prison back into the community.

HMIP inspectors found that services provided by the CRCs were poor or non-existent with too many prisoners reaching their release date without their immediate needs having been met or even recognised. Inspectors were also concerned by the high rate at which people had gone on to reoffend and been recalled to prison.

The report indicates that of the 86 cases inspected, not one client had been helped into employment. More than one-third of prisoners were released with nowhere to live and insufficient assistance was available for people in debt.

Public safety

The report also reveals that victims were not protected, as the risk of harm posed by released prisoners was not always recognised. In 61 per cent of cases inspected, the Community Rehabilitation Company had taken insufficient account of public protection issues. This problem was particularly noticeable in domestic abuse cases.

Ian Lawrence Napo General Secretary said: “This latest damning report into the Transforming Rehabilitation experiment implemented by former Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling, accurately reflects the evidence from our members that an agenda which was supposed to reduce reoffending and make us all safer, is doing the opposite. The original claim that short term sentence prisoners would receive additional support on top of their £46 pounds is nothing more than a cheap soundbite. Through the Gate has failed to help people find homes and employment, failed to prevent people committing further offences, and failed the taxpayer by exposing victims of crime to even more danger.

“The HMI Probation report again illustrates what happens when politicians refuse to listen to expert advice and plough ahead with ideas that result in disaster. This reckless experiment with public safety, which Napo and many other organisations warned against, is a catastrophic example of political failure, and its impact will be felt for many years.

“I urge the new Secretary of State to rescind the CRC contracts with immediate effect without any additional cost to the taxpayer. The probation service needs to be reinstated to being the gold standard not for profit service that it once was, so that it serves the public and victims of crime.”

Successive reports consistently show the failure of TR

Last August, HM Inspectorate of Probation reported that the quality of probation work in Durham had declined since the Transforming Rehabilitation programme began. A similar report on services in Derbyshire, which reached the same view, was published the following month. These conclusions followed a highly critical report by the National Audit Office into the TR Procurement process.

Less than two weeks ago, the Public Accounts Committee’s report on Transforming Rehabilitation concluded that the government’s promised “rehabilitation revolution” was far from complete. Only last week, HM Inspectorate of Prisons reported that women’s services had deteriorated and were “under threat” following the implementation of the programme.

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This from the Independent:-

Privatisation of probation services branded a failure by two watchdog inspections

Inspectors have painted a devastating picture of the Government’s privatisation of probation services – warning that ex-prisoners are being failed and the public put at risk. Two watchdogs have sharply criticised the overhaul put through by ex-Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, concluding the help promised is not being delivered.

All prisoners sentenced to a year or less are now supervised for 12 months on release, increasing the number watched over by 50,000, or around 25%. Mr Grayling promised his “through the gate” services would prepare inmates for life in the community - including finding accommodation, employment or training and managing finances. But a joint report from HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Prisons concluded that nowhere near enough was being done to help prisoners.

Furthermore, the risk of harm to others was not always recognised, which meant victims were not always protected - particularly in cases of domestic abuse. In one case, a registered sex offender released without any accommodation has since disappeared, according to the report. Rates of re-offending were high. A quarter of the prisoners in the inspection sample had already been put back in prison for alleged new offences, or for failing to keep appointments under their licences.

Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation, said it had identified multiple failings after studying the cases of 86 offenders who had been jailed for less than 12 months. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: 
“One in three was released with nowhere to live. We also found that not one of our sample had had any help in relation to training, education or employment. Indeed, many of them had not had sufficient help across a wide range of issues that they faced - drug dependency, alcohol dependency, mental health problems and debt dependency.”
The 2014 shake-up created the National Probation Service (NPS) to deal with high-risk offenders, while remaining work was assigned to 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). It is the mostly privately-run CRCs, working on a payment-by-results basis, which are responsible for the “through the gate” services. At the time, campaigners labelled the changes a “reckless experiment” and urged delay, but Mr Grayling accelerated the timetable to get them in place before the 2015 general election.

27 comments:

  1. It is interesting, that an independant inspection of 86 cases can find huge failings, you can bet if this was the same 86 cases surveyed by either Probation Service that the Offenders themselves would tick the box that says their experience with Probation was 10 out of 10 and of exceptional high standard..

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    1. Annon @ 17:13

      I think you might loose that bet, unless some form of gratuity was offered in exchange for a 10 out of 10.
      Many on supervision are very aware not just of the lack of services they can now expect to access, but also the services they can't access elsewhere because there are lots of organisations that now won't afford any support if you're subject to a Probation supervision order. Indeed many may feel that the reality of Graylings lies has added problems to their lives, and closed off much needed avenues of support support rather then enhancing their opportunities.
      Something I can't recall being mentioned in Graylings TR plans, was the suitability of some offenders to be supervised by probation services. It's only my opinion, but some under 12mth that are on licence don't actually need supervision at all. Others require supervision not by probation, but by mental health services.
      The 12mth and under are, again my opinion only, by far the most problematic group to supervise and those that have the most chaotic lifestyles, and those complexities does not allow a one size fits all approach.
      Grayling has created a very expensive system that works for no one, creates extra problems for upon release, and prevents many of those that can provide support from doing so.
      People receiving probation services know just what they're getting, and they know it's possible poor.

      Of the 86 subjects the report authors reviewed, 25% were recalled to custody before the review was completed.

      "Getafix'

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    2. the shit is hitting the fan now. Inspection after inspection, committee, and press reports. A moment of "We told you so" is not sufficient reward for what we have been, through, and damage done. I just hope that there is the will left out there in a depleted and battered probation profession to grab the moment and turn this into something positive.

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  2. What a shite news release from NAPO. Whoever wrote it clearly needs to go on some training. No top line and worded like a bad PSR. Get a grip for goodness sake.

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    1. Just saw this on Twitter and it made me laugh. It's so true!

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  3. Baroness Corston "I knew it would be a disaster" R4

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  4. BBC radio File on 4. Some exposure about TR failings, still a side show at this stage, needs further mainstream exposure in my view.

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    1. write to your mp and/or local paper

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  5. R4 File on 4 - skimmed the surface - no mention of massive staff shortages due to enforced redundancies and staff getting out voluntarily asap. No mention of inexperienced staff being employed on short term contracts, so never really get to know what they should be doing, and many offenders never get to know their officer properly and vice versa. No mention of IT systems not fit for purpose so info on risk etc not being known or passed on. No mention of buildings equally unfit for purpose, often doing interviews in view of the public. Also -using public areas with no knowledge of how dangerous some clients may be. CRCS concentrating on payment for completing programmes etc, even if the client has done nothing, no effort from CRCs to enable clients to have quality time with officer, to explore backgrounds etc. I could go on.... But at least the programme brought out some important issues which was better than nothing.

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    1. A little harsh ml - it was extremely competent and there's a limit as to how much you can pack into just 40 minutes.

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    2. sorry Jim but I still think they could have mentioned the losses of experienced staff, combined with the inability to keep crucial records up to date, and being unable to supervise in the way it used to be done, are all additional significant causal factors of increased risk to the public, which could all have been fitted into an hour long programme, not a 40 minute one. Even an extra 5 minutes would have helped. But yes, what was said, was said competently.

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    3. There was so much spinning going on in the statements issued by the MoJ, the ministerial office and Working Links in that programme, am surprised not to hear the centre of the earth has been reached.
      All very depressing.

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    4. Not harsh Mi5! Sounds like you actually have some idea what is going on. It scored the surface but could have gone much deeper. Mentioned 'trained probation workers' but actually many pso's enter with no specific training at all and get little in house training either. This is a fact for some crc's before someone tries to shoot me down. Spoke to my valued colleague yesterday who worked as ETE officer and 8 months in as pso has had no basic risk training! So no jim ML is not being harsh at all!

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    5. Not much training because not many trainers available + CRC's not employing new staff + no coherent training models due to lack of co-coordinated plans for PQIP level 3.

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  6. A good documentary exposing the devastating affect TR has had on individuals and their families. We all knew it would take murders to bring it into the Public domain. Yes only the tip of the iceberg but I thought the documentary captured the essence of failure of TR. Can this government seriously continue with the privatisation of Social Services.

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  7. Bit of energy on the go in Probation Resistance: and by the way Jim, its been a while since I logged onto your blog daily, I got so dispirited and just jacked it all in. Thank you so much for keeping on keeping on. Nice to be back, and cheers to you for a great public service

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  8. Nothing will change. The TR show will go on. It's here to stay

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  9. That idiot who keeps coming on and telling you to cut the blog and how its all going brilliantly and the managers are brilliant and you know its just brilliant and would be even brillianter if you would stop being such a negative ninny... seems conspicuous by their absence here.

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  10. How many staff who listened to the radio programme connected with the experience of 'crossing your' fingers on a Friday afternoon, hoping you have 'covered all' bases with that case you saw earlier in the day? Then checking your emails first thing on a Monday morning in case there's bad news? Probation practitioners find it hard to 'switch off' in their 'own time'. Whenever there's a local incident, first thought is 'I hope it's not one of mine'.

    When the Porthcawl case was covered by Welsh media, my first thought was 'I hope it's not a CRC case'. I soon heard through the 'grapevine' that it was. Why didn't Wales CRC slow down their change programme to address how they were supervising such chaotic individuals with mental health and substance misuse difficulties? No - Working Links wanted to carry out it's operational hubs pilots in Swansea and Cardiff areas - remote telephone case management of lower risk cases.

    The Victim's mother was so brave in sharing her experiences on both emotional and rational levels. Strong messages regarding the 'Corporate' approach taken by CRC leaders she met when seeking access to the SFO Summary Report and the laptop lid being slap closed in front of her when she asked to take a photo of the screen. Her success in accessing the Full SFO Report and how it compared to the Summary. So much more to take from this programme ......

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    1. "So much more to take from this programme" Thanks for that - I agree and it ws only 40 minutes. We must all hope that the BBC are encouraged to delve a bit further into the whole TR omnishambles. I know they read this blog because I'm led to believe everywhere their enquiries went, it was cited.

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  11. Ok so if they are reading this then they could send an undercover reporter to some of the completely public buildings where probation staff are forced to interview in public! Come along incognito and you will spot the crc staff because they have two forms of id around their necks. Last time i came in my officer was apologising cause only one office for 6 staff so we had to sit by reception and talk about stuff. I said i didn't want to cause people could hear and she said she understood and woukd maybe get the 1 office next time but then the next week someone got in first and the library was really really busy so just had to try and talk quiet. I coukd hear someone else on probation shouting at the officer so i just made an excuse

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    1. That's terrible! I still have an office to go to. It't tiny and smells but at least no one else is listening. I wouldn't say anything in a library if people are listening.

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    2. Like I said once before. If my GP surgery said it was decamping to the library for all future consultations I would change Drs. If I'm not prepared to discuss my personal stuff in public then I'm sure not going to expect others to divulge personal stuff to me in similar circumstances. Therefore at present I am refusing to use our 'community hub' as it has no private interview rooms - the one small possible room is used by the owners as a storage cupboard so full of piled up furniture.
      Deb

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  12. Yes, feel free to shadow me anytime. I have nothing to hide. The public need to know what is going on.someone needs to go public with this. Libraries with toddler groups and offenders reporting to same place is a complete disgrace. Jim should contact the crcs and find out where offenders are reporting.

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  13. Why should jim do this. This is a job for napo. Napo, if you want more staff to join up then stop spouting words and do a road show up and down the country and see us at work and the not fit fir purpose places we are holed up in. Maybe you could speak to a few offenders whilst you are at it. Where do you work deb and what do your managers say about your refusal to discuss things like domestic violence and child protection in public? Do they say it is acceptable and good practise?

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  14. I am NOT attempting to judge my NPS colleagues, but some of the proposals and sentencing in my area is a joke. 3 suspended sentence orders running along side each other, two imposed for recommending, the latter for taking drugs into a prison. Individuals reoffendinding during PSS period, getting conditional discharges or SSOs with no mention on court results of the breach of PSS. Repeat DV offenders being sentenced with no PSR OASys, not even a basic. Due to NDelius fiasco of the last two weeks, CRC having to interview with no risk info, no CPS, no reports, no precons. Now backlog of uploading, do you think NPS will prioritise uploading for CRC cases before their own. TR is a mess, the whole system is a mess, but it is not all down to CRC providers and nor is it all down to CRC staff. I don't condone profit before people and fought against this shambles of privatisation, it is this Government and MOJ that made this mess and it is them that should be accountable for the failings

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    1. Imposed for reoffending

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