Friday, 5 January 2018

The Academics Speak Out 3

Written evidence from Professor Peter Raynor (TRH0031) 

The Design, Implementation and Consequences of ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’. 


This submission argues that the Transforming Rehabilitation programme (TR) has suffered from over-hasty and ill-informed introduction, which was driven by optimistic assumptions about the superior performance of private sector service providers rather than by any substantial consideration of evidence. Topics covered include the intended benefits of the privatisation programme, the reasons why they have mostly not been realised in practice, and whether this could have been predicted if more of the available evidence had been taken into account. It is argued that the approach taken to the introduction of TR was inherently more risky than was appropriate to a Service which handles statutory duties in the interest of public safety. Finally the problems emerging in Through-the-Gate services and post-custodial resettlement are discussed, an alternative approach is outlined, and some comments are offered on changes in governance which may have contributed to current problems. This submission is relevant to the following Terms of Reference: 1(a) and (b), 2(i) and (ii), 4, 5 and 7. 

The intended benefits of privatisation 

Whilst transfer to private companies was not the only intended route for establishing Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), and it was hoped that (for example) voluntary sector organisations would bid, in practice the effect has mainly been transfer of responsibility to private companies which aim to profit from the provision of publicly funded services. It is important to consider why this was believed to be the right way forward, to the extent that the most experienced and arguably qualified providers, the Probation Trusts themselves, were excluded from the competition to run CRCs. Perceived advantages of privatisation included a belief that private sector managements would be more effective at reducing running costs and raising productivity; that they would show more innovation and creativity; that they would fully embrace and use the evidence base of ‘what works’ (although of course the same evidence was available to the public sector), and that new technological solutions to service delivery challenges would transform the effectiveness of services. The bidding process, by inviting competition between bidders, was supposed to drive up the quality of bids. 

Have the intended benefits been realised? 

It is now clear from a series of reports by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) that, with few and isolated exceptions, these benefits have simply not happened – performance is generally poor and this is not helping either the rehabilitation of offenders or public safety (see, for example, HMIP 2016a, b, c). The voluntary sector has not been involved to the expected extent, and reoffending data available so far are mixed and not conclusive. Use of community sentences by the Courts has declined, for reasons which are not yet clear but probably include a lack of confidence in, or a lack of knowledge about what CRCs are providing. This is turn has created financial problems for CRCs, and instead of being incentivised by Payment by Results (PBR) they have been given more money following poor performance. This is one of the known risks of privatisation: when essential services and statutory duties are outsourced in arrangements supported by long contracts with private sector providers, the contractual arrangements seldom provide enough leverage to manage performance in a service which cannot be allowed to fail, so further public costs are incurred to keep providers afloat. It is also known to be difficult for either public or private sector bodies to raise productivity significantly in services which are personally provided, since there is limited scope for replacing people with technology while maintaining levels of service (see, for example, Taylor-Gooby 2013). 

Technological innovation in corrections has usually been more effective when it supports and supplements personal supervision of offenders rather than when aiming to replace such supervision. For example, international research on electronic monitoring shows that it has greater effects on reoffending when it is used alongside personal supervision (Nellis et al. 2013). The use of ‘kiosks’ to automate reporting by people under supervision has not been shown to have positive effects except where probation staff are supervising very large numbers of low-risk offenders with limited needs for supervision, who would probably not be seen as requiring community sentences in England and Wales (Crosse et al. 2016). Reports that some CRCs are supervising offenders through a telephone call every six weeks run counter to recent research on the impact of personal supervision: studies in several countries now show that skilled personal supervision can produce significant reductions in reoffending (Chadwick et al. 2015; Raynor et al. 2014). There is no technological fix to replace personal supervision while retaining effectiveness. Greater increases in effectiveness and therefore productivity are more likely to result from developing and improving staff skills. 

Faced with these difficulties many CRCs have struggled to deliver and have tried to resolve the consequent financial problems by reducing staff. This can reduce their capacity to deliver effective supervision, and sometimes results in a disproportionate loss of more experienced staff who are higher up the salary scale and nearer to retirement. There is a clear danger of a downward spiral, and presumably the recent injection of new funds is an attempt to avoid this; however, there is always a risk that private companies delivering services may have to choose between maintaining the level and quality of services and strengthening their financial position by reducing wage costs. They serve both public interest and shareholder interest, and when the two conflict they are likely to prioritise the latter. It is too simplistic to argue that the use of the private sector always involves a conflict between the quality of service and pursuit of profit: on the contrary, private sector trainers, consultants, programme developers and researchers have made major contributions to the effectiveness of probation services. However, this has been when their involvement has a clear and limited purpose which aligns quality of service and financial rewards, and when commissioning is overseen by, and in the interest of public providers. The approach taken to privatisation in TR has provided too many perverse incentives for over-promising and under-delivering. When civil servants are tasked with achieving major outsourcing by a particular target date, this can result in undue haste and gives a bargaining advantage to bidders (National Audit Office 2016). 

Normally one standard way to mitigate the risks involved in radical innovations is to pilot them and evaluate the pilots, so that problems can be identified and addressed in advance. It is generally understood that pilots of the TR proposals were planned, but cancelled to allow faster implementation. The proximity of a general election may have influenced the timetable, as it did when the railways were privatised. The decision not to explore possible impacts showed either an astonishing degree of confidence that the changes would work, or a belief that privatisation would in itself be a significant achievement. Both of these suggest a somewhat cavalier attitude to the risks involved. In a partial attempt to fill this gap, officials and politicians have drawn attention to two pilot studies of ‘through the gate’ services (Disley et al. 2015; Pearce et al. 2015) as if these were tests of the wider reforms; however, what they mainly show is that it is better to provide some resettlement services than to provide none, and they do not include systematic comparisons of different ways of providing them. 

Resettlement of short-sentence prisoners 

The TR programme was intended to fill a long-standing gap created by the Probation Service’s withdrawal in the late 1980s from providing voluntary prison after-care (Maguire et al. 1998, 2000). CRCs were to provide a ‘through-the-gate’ (TTG) service and an imaginative range of post-release services in collaboration with the voluntary sector. Bids proposed new ways of involving the voluntary sector. According to HMIP, promised innovations in TTG and resettlement have mostly not been delivered. The most obvious consequence of the changes has been a spectacular increase in recalls to prison for breaches of licence requirements rather than further offences (Howard League 2017). It is important to recognise that while there was evidence of unmet need for post-release resettlement of short-sentence prisoners, there was little if any evidence to support the introduction of a full year of compulsory supervision. 

Research on the Home Office’s resettlement ‘Pathfinder’ projects in 1999-2003 provided evidence that short-sentence prisoners who wanted post-release support could benefit from it, with lower than predicted recidivism for those who remained in contact after release, and that the take-up of voluntary schemes rose if a persuasive offer to prisoners was made (Lewis et al. 2003; Clancy et al. 2006). The research also compared the different approaches taken in different ‘pathfinder’ prisons, and found that the more effective projects appeared to be those managed by probation services and those run by voluntary organisations which provided post-release contact with mentors. Post-release contact was usually for much less than a year. Providing a long period of compulsory post-release supervision is likely to result in breaches, particularly when contact with supervisors is infrequent, superficial or absent, as appears often to be the case under current arrangements. Compliance with supervision is usually better when supervision is personal and experienced as helpful by those under supervision (Ugwudike and Raynor 2014). Otherwise what is being offered to released prisoners amounts to little more than a substantial risk of return to prison even if not offending. Given the current level of the prison population, there is a case for considering other approaches. 

A reduction in the number of prisoners receiving sentences of less than 12 months would by itself clearly help to reduce the need for their post-release supervision. In addition, and more immediately, it is suggested that the current scheme could be improved and made easier to deliver by reducing the supervision period to six months, which easily covers the most critical phase of resettlement for many prisoners. In addition, the basis of participation could be changed to an opt-in approach in which prisoners could sign up for resettlement in response to a persuasive offer from resettlement workers or TTG teams. This was the basis of the Pathfinder projects and of the Doncaster and Peterborough ‘pilots’. Participation could carry the further incentive of earlier release, leaving a part of the sentence in suspension and available to serve in the event of complete non-cooperation with agreed supervision arrangements; prisoners in this situation would be regarded as having opted out of the scheme, forfeiting the advantage of early release. It seems likely that such recalls could be much rarer than at present, particularly if supervisors had the time and authority to engage in a more constructive and problem-solving approach to non-cooperation (Raynor 2013).

The introduction of CRCs into resettlement and TTG services creates more fragmentation in what is already a complex and confusing picture, which is not well understood by many prisoners and does not add up to a high quality service (Maguire and Raynor 2017). There seems little doubt that if consortia of probation services and voluntary organisations were encouraged (or allowed) to put forward proposals for resettlement schemes, some good proposals would be likely to emerge, with more coherence and less fragmentation. The current situation is far from satisfactory as few services beyond ‘signposting’ are actually provided, and many prisoners are exposed to enforcement action without much, if any, help to turn their lives around. 

Governance and change in probation services 

The recent World Congress of Probation in Japan drew 371 delegates from 34 countries, but none from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) or the Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). This was the third such Congress; the first, in 2013, was hosted in London by the MoJ. At the Congress in Tokyo several delegates commented to me on this reduction in the profile of probation in England and Wales. Some went further and observed that England and Wales had a world-leading Probation Service in the late 1990s but it appeared to have gone into decline since then. It is worth reflecting on some of the changes in organisation that have occurred during this period. In the 1990s the Service was locally based, and governed by Probation Committees consisting mainly of local magistrates. Changes since then have included the establishment of a national Probation Service and Probation Boards in 2001, the creation of the National Offender Management Service in 2004, the establishment of Probation Trusts in 2008-9, the launch of CRCs in 2014 and the abolition of NOMS and its replacement by HMPPS in 2017. It is not clear which of these rather frequent reorganisations produced actual improvement, as they have not been subjected to any full evaluation. 

One feature of these reorganisations which has not been the subject of much comment is that as well as reducing local control and accountability, they have completely displaced the judiciary from its former role in the governance of probation services. It is not clear how far the judiciary was consulted on TR or how far judges and magistrates were involved in the MoJ’s recent internal review. Given the Probation Service’s role in advising sentencers and implementing sentences, it seems perverse to remove the voice of sentencers from its governance. 

Overall, this submission suggests that the problems experienced by TR are not superficial aberrations but are the natural and often predictable consequences of the way it was designed and implemented. In the 2012 edition of the Oxford Handbook of Criminology I wrote that ‘If current trends in England and Wales continue, we can expect to see more diversity and variation in the provision of community sentences, with both good and bad results. These developments, however, seem likely to be driven more by political ideologies and expediency than by the needs of courts, victims or offenders’ (Raynor 2012, 949). There is no satisfaction whatsoever in being right about this. The difficulties of TR are deep-rooted and unlikely to be fully addressed by adjustments to the detail of CRC funding arrangements. A more fundamental review of the TR model would be preferable, including the option of resuming public ownership of some or all CRCs. The aim should be a Probation Service which reinstates a less fragmented delivery model, with greater emphasis on personal supervision and staff skills, greater local accountability and more judicial involvement, reflecting its role as a service to Courts as well as a part of the penal system.

Submitted by Peter Raynor PhD FAcSS 
Emeritus Research Professor in Criminology and Criminal Justice Swansea University 

November 2017

(references not shown)


  1. We have had three/four academics making representations that are entirely legitimate and well argued. The only trouble is that they present arguments that were rehearsed well before Grayling implemented his folly and were presented repeatedly by ordinary Probation employees in meetings, on social media, on this blog, in trade union NECs, national conferences and in face to face meetings with NOMS/MoJ. The academics have the advantage of some degree of earned credibility but what they are saying is what Probation staff, managers and main grade staff alike, have been saying all along. The people who implemented this TR programme were outsiders who did not understand the ethos of Probation and did not comprehend the challenges of effective community rehabilitation. They did not believe the representatives of the existing Probation structures because they were hostile to something that they did not comprehend. It all started when Carter put Probation in the hands of the Prison service. I always said it was like putting an abbatoir in charge of veterinary services because they both 'worked with animals'. NOMS was ill conceived and NOMS created this mess. Carter created NOMS ergo it's all Carter's fault. I just can't see them putting their hands up and saying 'Yep. You are right. We screwed this up. What do we do now'.

    1. For the purpose of balanced argument Jim, could you provide some academic evidence that argues all the benefits of TR???????

    2. Nice one anon 11:41. As you well know, there isn't any, but in the interests of balance, here's what MTCnovo say in their submission:-

      "The principles of TR are sound."

    3. The evidence is as true now as it was before TR – and it made no difference. Nothing unsurprising there, as TR never rested on evidence – it's driven by free market ideology. Just as no one with Bible Belt faith will be swayed by scientific evolution, so evidence will never provide a TR tipping point. I admire those who plough away with sound, rational arguments, though one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. The only thing that will shift TR is political power.

      Maybe the JSC will help to get the ball rolling, but once they have their hands on public service delivery, private companies fight hard to stay in the game. Even when their practices, as with tagging, are tantamount to fraud, they bounce back and continue to accrue more contracts. They may even has loss leaders, but they know that once they monopolise they become too big to fail and know they will have to be bailed out. They can't lose.

      I do not believe TR can be fixed and any remedial changes would
      come with demands from CRCs for more cash. The only remedy is to take a reintegrated probation back into public ownership, along with the forensic science service and other functions that have been degraded in the private sector. Unfortunately, it likely that probation and other services will just have to limp on and on.

    4. Aww, come on Jim, there's more than that in favour of the 'anyone can run probation' argument. What about this extract from the ever modest Andrew Bridges who, it is believed, is currently devising the arms-dealer's guide to world peace (in principle, of course):

      "3. While Chief Inspector of Probation 2004-11 I developed inspection methodology so that we focused on quality and effectiveness of work done with offenders under supervision – assessments, interventions and outcomes. Previously I had led the demonstrably effective Probation Service in Berkshire, where the performance measures we devised and used not only worked effectively but also were consistent with practitioners’ expectations of what constituted quality individualised practice.

      4. My viewpoint continues to be fair-minded and non-ideological - I don’t mind who does the Probation work provided it is done well. I considered the rushed wholesale implementation of TR 2013-15 to be rashly gung-ho, but have always maintained that despite the obvious drawbacks of the new arrangements it should still be possible in principle to make them work effectively – and the results from at least two of the new CRCs (Cumbria and Kent, Surrey & Sussex) suggest this too."

    5. 13:36 Thanks for highlighting Andrew Bridges who has been featured on here a number of times and indeed has engaged with debate following a guest blog piece. However, he's not an acedemic as far as I know and we will get around to what might be termed 'experts' in due course.

    6. So Andrew Bridges doesn't mind if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice - Deng Xiaoping, another great pragmatist!

  2. Blimey, how much time do you think Jim has to try and find an academic willing to polish the turd?

  3. I think the writing is on the wall here.
    Same as with the Work programme (wonkyLinks and the criminal enterprise A4E)
    and disability DWP/ATOS
    They set it up, instruct them to save money,through more money at it
    then shock horror big scandal
    then those SAME people sit them down in front of a select committee and PRETEND to give them a grilling , etc etc Rinse Repeat.
    Solution expose and smash the CRCS (yes that mean YOU the staff) or sit ther and moan foreever about the oh so injustice of it all


  4. I have to agree with netnipper, things are doomed to limp on for the foreseeable future, barring another seriously high profile SFO or a complete change of government.
    But people being sentenced inappropriately has been mentioned several times in the last few days, and many of the reasons for that happening has been explained.
    I don't however think the MoJ truly realise the dire consequences this can have. It's not just that someone may get a few months extra imprisonment they may not actually deserve, but inappropriate sentencing could be the root cause of the massive rise in prison suicides.
    I was struck that the last time I 8 people who committed suicide in HMP Swansea (reported yesterday) all did so within the first week of being in custody.
    Innapropriate sentencing may be causing the loss of a lot of lives, and if thats a possibility then urgent action needs to be taken immediately.

    'Getafix. . (not to be confused
    . . . . . . with Getagrip)

  5. The future looks bleak.

    1. Cash £3.3m
      Net Worth -£3.6m
      Total Current Assets £5.8m
      Total Current Liabilities £9.6m

    2. Great news. It will be even more bleak if the CRC continues. Here's hoping they fold as soon as possible.

    3. What is 'the wales crc'? And when did it take on that name? Also why is their address given as Queensway House, Weston super mare? That is the CRC HQ for working links bgsw crc. So they have taken over this address have they? Looks like they are worse than broke from what I can make out. Is this why so many staff have left over the past month or so and still leaving. Maybe they have guessed what is now in the public domain. Can anyone enlighten us?

    4. Working Links runs the Wales CRC.

    5. Don't be misled by companies house data - the accountants who pilot the global pirate ships have many ways of hiding assets & presenting their businesses as poverty-stricken for tax purposes. They'll have reserves, underwriters & cash aplenty tucked away - & there's probably a few quid for Grayling under the mattress.


      You are most likely right this from the South west Napo chair last year.

      the latest September 2017 Working Links Financial report. Not a great read if you’re not an accountant or a fan of pages of numbers. However, the few gems of wisdom the accounts did provide and are in my mind as another example of the Working Links Way, on how to avoid scrutiny!

      Parent company profit for the year

      The company has taken advantage of the exemption allowed under section 408 of the Companies Act 2006 and has not presented its own Statement of Comprehensive Income in these financial statements. The profit after tax of the parent Company for the year was £8,139,000 (2015 - loss £1,117,000).

      This statement lifted from page 31 of their accounts makes it known that despite the 8 million and loose change of overall clear profit to Aurelius this year, Working Links have hidden the income in a get out clause. This money is in fact from the public purse, the tax payers’ money. What it means is that without trawling the figures with an expert, Working Links way, is to deliberately hide the profits derived from the criminal Justice sector contract. We ask why? We have the tools to look and investigate this more thoroughly during this year into next. NAPO SSW Branch will report what we discover in more detail. We are a long way from the claims that they only made 250k last year and of course we all wonder why this is when their interest payments appear to read 500k.

      From Page 28

      3.10 Contract viability

      As noted in the Directors' Report, following the governmement's review of the industry-wide Probation systems across England and Wales, contractural negotiations have culminated in a new and favourable contract amendment via a Deed of Variation. As such the directors are satisfied that the transforming rehabilitation contract is not onerous based on expected volumes and as such no material adjustment is required in these accounts.

      The information on this contract deal reads as slippery as the non disclosure on profit reports. Yet this figure puts another 4.2 million pounds to the Working Links contract then finding its way to Aurelius. Does this new figure put the total profits up to around 12 Million? The document refers to larger sums of loans and a hefty hundreds of thousands in some pension deal for a few directors. Obviously there is lots of money despite what they say yet they find ways to hide the figures. Members, you may appreciate Working links were a bankrupt company in 2015, less than 2 years into the contract. Aurelius now enjoy the potential profits that Working links may have seen as their prize.


      And here as well

  6. How long before they stop paying wages?

  7. To go ‘off piste,’ for a moment, the chaos that is the parole board continues unabated.
    The disarray continues far beyond high profile matters in the media spotlight today

    1. Yes - just heard the barrister on Channel 4 not mention probation once when talking about reports being prepared for oral hearings.

      The shit is going to hit the fan on this case because nobody thought he'd get out any time soon.

    2. Is Working Links going to supervise him perhaps? If so interviews in a library or a tele - call twice a year. Oh hold on it will be NPS perhaps they will send him onwards for zero risk management.

    3. I too think the shit will hit the fan over Worboys, and it's exasperated with the case of Theodore Johnson, and Jonas Venables. But I think the focus will soon shift from the parole board to other areas.
      Personally I have some sympathy with the parole board on this.
      The parole board are making a decision based on what the appellant is convicted of. They can't, and shouldn't, assume guilt of other offences that someone hasn't been convicted of.
      One of the criticisms the board face is that some of Worboys victims were not informed of the decision to release him. However, Worboys was never convicted of an offence against some of those that raise that complaint. That's a legal quagmire, and begs the question when does a victim legally become a victim?
      The police failed to present the DPP with all the cases that it was presented with, and the DPP failed to prosecute on most of those cases put before them.
      So where does the buck stop?
      Is it blame at all level? Should politicians take some responsibility for promising victims all sorts of things that legally can't be delivered? The media for pushing agendas? The police for not bringing charges? The DPP for not prosecuting? The judge for imposing the sentence?
      I think it's all a mess. And it's politicians that's created the mess. I hope there is some big questions asked, but as with most major f*** ups, the ones that will sholder the blame won't be the real culprits.


    4. In addition, should or could the original tariff have been challenged by the Attorney General?

      Was the Secretary of State represented at the oral hearing? If yes, did they make representations? If yes, how does that square with the same Secretary of State having authority over those HMPPS staff, now including Probation Officers, who prepared reports recommending release?

    5. And what pressures are being piled on the parole board by the state to get the backlog of those serving IPPs out the gate?


    6. How long will it take the press to remember that only a year ago sex offender programmes were pulled in prisons because they increased people's likelihood of reoffending rather then reducing it?
      However, it looks like fresh changes may be on the cards.

    7. Alleged victims of the serial sex offender John Worboys are ready to bring fresh prosecutions against him and send him back to jail, according to their lawyer.

      Women targeted by Worboys are devastated by the imminent release of the black-cab driver, who “denied his heinous crimes and then forced [victims] to endure the torment of a criminal trial”, said Richard Scorer of Slater and Gordon. Scorer represents eight of Worboys’ alleged victims who were not included in the original criminal prosecution.

      On Friday night the Crown Prosecution Service revealed that while it had prosecuted Worboys for attacks on 14 women, it had dropped cases involving three other women, even though it assessed they “passed the evidential test”, because there were sufficient counts “to enable the judge to impose an appropriate sentence”.

      Worboys, 60, has spent nine years and nine months in prison, including time on remand. He was given an indeterminate sentence, which had a minimum term of eight years, for drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women, including raping one of them. He is likely to be freed within weeks.

      After he was jailed in 2009, police also told prosecutors about another 19 alleged victims, but the CPS advised that it would be in the public interest only to prosecute allegations of rape.

      One victim, who gave evidence against Worboys in his 2009 trial, lambasted the parole board’s decision to let him go. Speaking on condition of anonymity, she led demands for a full explanation as to why he was now considered to be no danger to women. The call was backed by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the chair of the home affairs select committee, Yvette Cooper.

      “For the parole board to find Worboys safe to release after such a short time is shocking, not least because they won’t tell us why,” she told the Guardian. “We need transparency as a matter of urgency. What do the parole board know that we don’t that means he’s no longer considered a serious danger to women?”

      A total of 105 complaints against Worboys reached the CPS, but the Guardian understands he was formally protesting his innocence as recently as two years ago. In March 2013 he applied to have his convictions reviewed by the criminal cases review commission, only withdrawing the claim in May 2015.

    8. Scotland Yard said in statement: “No new information has been received at this time; there is currently no live Met investigation. Should any further information come to light it will be fully investigated.”

      The Ministry of Justice declined to comment on whether it would change the law to allow details of parole decisions to be released, and the political fallout of the case looked likely to spread to Theresa May. The prime minister has backed the police against two of Worboys’ victims in a continuing supreme court battle over police blunders in their investigations, which is due for a ruling within weeks.

      As home secretary, May intervened to support Scotland Yard’s case that it should not be held liable under the Human Rights Act for its failings.

      Two of Worboys’ victims had already won an appeal court ruling that police failed to carry out an effective investigation. Even though he drove one of those victims to a police station, having been persuaded to do so by another man, officers dismissed her as a drunk and failed to take Worboys’ name or car registration. The other victim, who had been drugged and raped, went to police but they did not even log it as a serious sexual assault.

      The human rights organisation Liberty said May “has serious questions to answer” about her backing of the police.

      The parole board is meanwhile facing anger over the decision to release Worboys, and for the failure to inform all his victims before the announcement was made.

      Nick Hardwick, who chairs the board, apologised unreservedly because two victims had not been informed of the decision, but pointed out that it was the role of the probation service’s victim contact team to pass on the information.

      Hardwick defended the decision, saying the law prevented any publication of the three-person panel’s decision-making process. However, he said the case highlighted the need for greater transparency and that he had “radical plans” to change the rules.

      He has been called to explain the parole board’s decisions to the Commons justice committee. Robert Neill, who chairs the committee, said: “In my view it is ridiculous that the current rules prevent the board making public the reasons for their decisions.”

      Scorer is representing women who successfully sued Worboys in the civil courts, but were not included on the indictment in his 2009 trial, even though they gave statements to the police.

      He said the question of whether Worboys had admitted his crimes was crucial. “If he still denies his crimes, then he clearly poses a continuing risk to women,” he said. “If he now admits that he deliberately and systematically drugged and raped women, then the police need to look at whether there are any crimes that he was not convicted of and seek justice for those victims.”

      Scorer said that when he visited Worboys in jail in 2013 he was “clearly a very manipulative and dangerous individual” and that he was “concerned [Worboys] may have fooled the board into believing he is no longer a threat”.

      Keir Starmer, who was the director of public prosecutions at the time of the conviction and is now a member of the shadow cabinet, said: “It is very important that if there are any allegations anybody thinks have not been looked into sufficiently, they go to the police.”

    9. And what a marvellously convenient opportunity for misdirection when the JSC are about to conduct a forensic examination of TR.
      Wouldn't put it past Grayling to be cashing in a favour or yanking someone's chain in a media/PR company back room.
      Despite their historical political 'independence' the Parole Board have been under immense political pressure to clear out the IPPs, & recent (2015?) legislation was passed to assist with this task.

      The last Parole Board assessment I submitted (not supporting release) was tricky and I argued the case was in need of a specialist medical assessment, but no-one wanted to make such an expensive commitment; and the prisoner's barrister's view was that no such assessment was necessary. I included a section of wordy anecdotal speculation along the lines of "we need to consider the potential for perceived &/or possible risk-related scenarios associated with past offending patterns & convictions." It apparently suitably impressed the Chair of the Panel, was regarded as "a most useful discussion point" & swung the decision against an immediate release until progress was made with the assessment BUT... they stopped short of ordering the assessment. Everyone was backed into that well known Catch-22 cul-de-sac.