The best we can do? - Ian Lawrence interviewed on Russia Today. Where is an effective voice for what's left of probation?
I read this on the blog at the weekend and it shocked me:-
"Visiting HMP yesterday to do a cold OASys (cos someone was sentenced to 4 years without a report - not unusual these days."Everywhere you look, the Probation Service is being systematically dismantled. Pre Sentence Reports used to be regarded as an absolutely vital core element of our work and yet under the NPS E3 programme, there's an aim for 85% of defendants to be sentenced on the day, even at Crown Court, with a cursory 'stand-down' or 'short format' report, almost certainly delivered by someone other than a qualified Probation Officer.
This is an outrageous situation and one you'd reasonably expect would be addressed by the likes of the Probation Institute, but they appear content to continue with their policy of not rocking the boat for fear of upsetting the MoJ and the CRCs whilst pursuing the case for becoming a Regulatory Body:-
"The Probation Institute has developed a Policy Paper setting out the case for a Regulatory Body for Probation, Rehabilitation and Resettlement – Probation Institute Policy Paper Regulatory Body. Initial consultative meetings have responded positively to the proposals which seek to address some of the challenges facing the sector post Transforming Rehabilitation. Please let us have your views and we will keep you informed of developments."But what is the point if the probation ideal has already been smashed beyond recognition, a situation arrived at during their silence on TR?
Whilst providing a platform, mostly for practitioners, to tell the reality of the TR omnishambles, I've been generally supportive of the PI and the position it finds itself in, often to the extreme irritation of many readers it has to be said. Somewhat reluctantly I have now come to the same conclusion though and it was triggered by an ill-tempered exchange with the PI on twitter recently:-
"The PI has not made ANY comment on TR which many feel is surprising, unwise and unhelpful!"
"Jim, I am surprised at you. We have made many comments on TR, in publications, blogs, to Justice Committee, to members. Peddle your myths."No doubt readers can decide whether myths are being peddled on here or not, but there is still no PI Policy Paper on TR and it would seem not likely to be.