Tuesday, 6 February 2018

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Probation

Many will have noticed that the TR omnishambles featured on the front page of the Observer last weekend. It's not working, chaos and discontent reigns pretty much everywhere, but the government still refuses to admit there's a problem:-  

Private probation firms fail to cut rates of reoffending

Only two of 21 regional companies have reduced reoffending among low to medium-risk offenders. The vast majority of companies set up to tackle reoffending as part of a controversial drive to privatise the probation service have failed to meet their targets, in a substantial embarrassment for the government.Dramatic official figures have revealed that only two of the 21 regional companies set up to oversee low and medium-risk offenders have managed to reduce the number of new offences committed by reoffenders.

The revelation comes amid claims that the probation system is in crisis. Senior figures in the service warn that the companies involved lack the resources to do the job, while staff shortages have already meant that some ex-offenders are supervised by telephone calls. The failure emerges just weeks after the public spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, warned that the new “payment by results” system meant that a failure to hit reoffending targets could blow a further hole in the service’s finances. The companies involved have already required an extra £340m.

It is another sign of the difficulties facing public services after years of public spending cuts. Theresa May is already under pressure over NHS funding, with a crisis also hitting the nation’s prisons system. The supervision of offenders not deemed high-risk was handed to 21 community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) in 2014, as part of a privatisation drive by the former justice secretary Chris Grayling. Companies were to be partly paid in relation to their success in reducing reoffending.

However, official figures from the first year of the new system’s operation reveal that, among the prisoners who went on to reoffend, the average number of crimes committed in 2015-16 went up in all but two areas compared with 2011. It means that only the companies operating in Merseyside and Northumbria met their targets and are in line to receive a full payout from the Ministry of Justice. The remaining 19 could have a portion of their income cut as a result of the “payment by results” system.

These results follow a devastating official report at the end of last year in which Dame Glenys Stacey, the chief inspector of probation, said there was “no clear evidence that payment by results linked to reoffending rates [had] made any difference to the life chances of these or others under probation supervision.

“In those cases we inspected, only a handful of individuals had received any real help with housing, jobs or an addiction, let alone managing debt or getting back into education or training,” she said. “What is more, about one in 10 people were released without a roof over their heads.

“CRCs are too often doing little more than signposting and form-filling. Apart from Wales and Durham CRCs, we find that CRCs we have inspected are making little material difference to the prospects of individuals upon release, and yet this work is so important in breaking the cycle of offending.”

Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the data revealed significant flaws in the privatised service. “The rhetoric at the time of the privatisation was all about payment by results and improving the fight against reoffending,” he said. “But that was really just a smokescreen for something that was about cutting costs and taking money out of the system.

“When you put these figures alongside Glenys Stacey’s report, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that this was about taking money out. When you boil it down, this is a service where companies are failing and being paid to fail because of a botched privatisation.”

The Ministry of Justice said that there were now fewer offenders overall and that those who remained in the criminal justice system were more prolific offenders – which explained why the numbers of new offences per reoffender were increasing.

“Our probation reforms mean we are monitoring 40,000 offenders who would previously have been released with no supervision,” a spokesperson said. “Overall, community rehabilitation companies have reduced the number of people reoffending, but they need to do more to ensure we have a service that keeps the public safe and helps offenders turn their back on crime. Probation officers are doing an incredibly professional job, and we will continue to work closely with CRCs to improve performance.”

The department also said that those companies that had failed to meet targets would face deductions in their fees.


Whilst nothing much appears to be happening to address matters in England, something is going on in Wales:-

Conversation Starters

That the TR “reforms” to Probation are an unmitigated omnishambles is now beyond debate. It is however, important that this point continues to be made, and evidenced, not least as there is a risk that politicians and policy-makers will take one look and consign the whole thing to the “too difficult” box if they are allowed to. It is notable that successive ministers, senior and junior, have in conversation dropped the “and probation” bit of their job title in HMPPS. If we don’t make the case, we will be ignored.

Richard Burgon MP, our Shadow Justice Minister, has grasped the “and probation” suffix, and has announced, at the last NAPO AGM and elsewhere, that a Labour government would take the CRC’s “back into” the public sector. So far so good; but the CRC’s cannot “go back” anywhere, as the local Trusts from whence they were purchased, have gone: The NPS is, according to the Chief Inspector, doing better, but the NPS within the Civil Service is strangled by bureaucracy, failing IT, short of staff, and one suspects, increasingly expensive for what it achieves.

The Chief Inspector has also observed that while the NPS is doing better, in risk assessment and management, the work of rehabilitation is not given sufficient attention. A probation department without rehabilitation as its beating heart, is not “Probation”. Nor is it performing its function of enabling desistence for the time after its control and enforce role recedes from each individual case.

The CRC contracts will be up for review/renewal in three years’ time. By then the cracks will be showing in the NPS. It is without doubt a matter of urgency that a conversation is had about “What next?”

The professional, effective, humane Probation Service which we can describe and to which we can aspire is a great thing. Getting there is a whole other matter, and as the saying goes “I wouldn’t start from here”. Regardless of the sorry state of affairs that Probation is in, we are on a journey, and we should look to taking a role in navigating this, if the flickering but not yet extinguished flame of Probation is not to be snuffed.

The perils of ill considered, untested and hasty reforms don’t need rehearsing here. Those of us who lobbied and campaigned through the whole TR debacle will be more than aware that this required a lot of explanation and education of those in a position to make or affect policy decisions. The “What next” conversations must start now.

To that end, NAPO is hosting an event in the Welsh Assembly on 7th February. In September 2017 the First Minster of Wales Carwyn Jones announced a Commission on Justice in Wales, and in November announced its membership and terms of reference: of which the first is “promoting better outcomes in terms of access to justice, reducing crime and promoting rehabilitation.”

NAPO Cymru has invited Assembly members and other “interested and interesting” guests, to a panel discussion under the catchy title “How do you solve a problem like Probation”. The event will open with a few words from Commission Member Juliet Lyon CBE, and there will be speeches from Dean Rogers, NAPO Assistant General Secretary; Anne Fox, CEO of “Clinks”; Dr Jill Annison, Associate Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice Team, University of Plymouth School of Law, Criminology & Government; Darren McGarvey, author of the acclaimed “Poverty Safari”, broadcaster and performer; and Bernie Bowen Thomson, CEO of Safer Wales. There will be time for lively discussion with the invited audience, which includes Probation staff, Police and Crime Commissioners, Welsh Government Policy staff, Local Authority leads, and academics. This is aimed to be the start of a conversation about the future of Probation in Wales. Or a conversation in Wales about the future of Probation. Take your pick.

Su McConnel 

Communications Officer
NAPO Cymru


Napo press release :-


The leading union in the Probation service Napo, are launching a national conversation on the future structure of probation delivery and accountability at a panel discussion to be held at the Welsh Assembly on Wednesday 7th February.

Napo claim that Chris Grayling’s “Transforming Rehabilitation” (TR) revolution has been an unmitigated disaster – the subject of hugely critical reports by the NAO and HMI Probation at the end of 2017 and now the subject of parallel investigations by the Public Accounts Committee and the Justice Select Committee.

On-going risks identified by staff include:

  • Huge shortages of staff across privatised Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), largely due to job cuts due to loss making contracts;
  • A staff morale crisis in the National Probation Service (NPS), run by the MoJ, arising from staff shortages, low staff morale, high workloads and payroll problems due to systemic failures in managing different pay and pension systems after the staff transfer;
  • Knowledge gaps between staff working for the different organisations about offenders when cases are transferred between the two separate organisations;
  • Fears about contract stability, especially following the recent collapse of Carillion.
Dean Rogers, Napo’s Assistant General Secretary who will be one of the panel members on 7th February said: “The current probation model is unsustainable so we need to start building a consensus for change now. That means promoting the debate and listening, as well as putting forward our own initial ideas, drawing from the lessons of Grayling’s failed experiment.”

At the Welsh Assembly Panel event, sponsored by Jayne Bryant AM, Mr Rogers will be joined by author Darren McGarvey; Dr Jill Annison from the University of Plymouth; Safer wales CEO, Bernie Bowen-Thomas and Clinks CEO, Anne Fox. The event takes place at the Media Briefing Room between 12 and 1.30pm.

Napo are campaigning across Wales and England saying that a new delivery model will need to reunite probation locally; increase local accountability and co-operation between local stakeholders; and remove the profit motive which skews commissioning and stifles local innovation.

Dean Rogers added: “Privatisation hasn’t worked in large part because there was never a market and no profit to be made to start with. Local CRC’s commissioning local providers isn’t working because CRC’s are making a loss and need to keep everything for themselves. But the nationalised bit doesn’t work either, because this is a local service that needs to be locally accountable and respond to local needs. Napo’s role is not to have all the answers but we should be generating debate and asking all of the right questions”

Napo General Secretary Ian Lawrence, who provided Oral evidence to the Justice Select Committee inquiry this week said: “This is an exciting initiative and Wales seems like the right place to start the national debate because people know about devolution and are well placed to explore possible options. Urgent consideration needs to be given to the key issues of probation funding and the impact on public safety of a fragmented service.”

Specific briefing note to Editors: With an emerging political consensus that the TR model will not survive past the current contracts which run until 2022, Napo is eager to move the debate from simply identifying what is accepted to not be working and towards what a new model could look like. In this they recognise that part of Chris Grayling’s problem was a failure to properly engage with professionals and stakeholders and build a consensus around reforms that could genuinely work.


DEAN ROGERS has been Assistant General Secretary of Napo since 2013. He has been representing and negotiating for employees across the public sector for over 25 years working with different unions and over 60 different employers including government departments and local authorities, numerous private sector contractors, mutual and charities.

In Napo, he’s the strategic lead for Operational Strategy, covering legal support and representation, collective bargaining, alongside developing Napo’s internal structures and capacity to meet member needs and expectations in their ever more complex working environments.

Dean is an Associate of the CIPD and is particularly interested in organisational design, culture and change. He writes regularly about challenges in criminal justice and for unions and the labour movement, as well about wider social and political challenges in our post-rational age. See more here.

ANNE FOX is Clinks’ Chief Executive Officer and joined in October 2015. 
Clinks is the national infrastructure charity supporting voluntary organisations working to support people in the criminal justice system and their families across England and Wales. Clinks also manages the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and in 2017 merged Women’s Breakout within the organisation. 

Anne’s role is to provide inspirational leadership to the organisation and be an influential advocate on behalf of the voluntary sector working with people in the criminal justice system and their families. 

Previously the Director of The Communication Trust - a consortium of over 50 not-for-profit organisations working to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication in England - she has worked in the voluntary and community sector in the UK and Republic of Ireland in campaigning, policy, public affairs and communications roles for 19 years. With an educational background in social policy and postgraduate training in public relations she has led campaigning, communications and policy in national parenting and one-parent family organisations and managed high profile campaigns at Mencap - the UK’s leading learning disability charity.

DARREN McGARVEY aka LOKI grew up in Pollok, Glasgow. He is a writer, performer, community activist and columnist, and former rapper-in-residence at Police Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit.

He was part of the Poverty Truth Commission that was hosted in Glasgow in 2009 and has presented eight programmes for BBC Scotland exploring the root causes of anti-social behaviour and social deprivation. His recently published “Poverty Safari” “lays down challenges to both the left and the right, It is hard to think of a more timely, powerful or necessary book” (JK Rowling)

JILL ANNISON is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) within the Criminology and Criminal Justice Team in the University of Plymouth School of Law, Criminology & Government. She is the Senior Personal Tutor and the Academic Liaison Partnerships person (ALP) for the CCJS programme in 2017-2018.

She started her professional career as a probation officer and has a particular interest in the links between policy, practice and research. Published work includes Annison, J., Brayford, J. and Deering, J. (eds) (2015); Women and Criminal Justice: From the Corston Report to Transforming Rehabilitation. Bristol: Policy Press, and Ugwudike, P., Raynor, P. and Annison, J. (eds) (2018) Evidence-Based Skills in Criminal Justice: International Research on Supporting Rehabilitation and Desistance. Bristol: Policy Press.

Bernie has a Masters degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice (MSc) and over 18 years’ experience of working in the community safety and criminal justice field. Passionate about social justice, Bernie has a strong track record of developing and delivering evidence-based services to improve the lives of groups who are stigmatised by, or invisible to, the rest of society.

These groups include victims of domestic or sexual violence, substance users, the street homeless, sex workers, victims of sexual exploitation or trafficking, women involved with the criminal justice system and those who fall into more than one of these categories, who may have mental health needs.

Bernie has been instrumental is developing innovative and multi-agency services to meet the complex needs of a number of marginalised groups, including:

  • The Women’s Turnaround Project
  • Street Life Project 
  • The Safer Wales Service for young girls who are sexually exploited or at risk of sexual exploitation.
These, and other, Safer Wales projects have benefited many thousands of Wales’ most vulnerable people, including young offenders and those at risk of offending, female ex-prisoners, excluded BEM young people, female and male victims of domestic abuse, street sex-workers, victims of homophobic and race hate crime and burglary, homeless people, and children under five.

As CEO of Safer Wales, Bernie is committed to continuing to develop services that lead the way in preventing today’s social problems becoming tomorrow’s crises.


  1. Now that NPS London have been empowered to process 3000(thousand) un-enforced Community Payback Orders on behalf of Mct Novo who knows what that will lead to.This is of course London only..will the rest of NPS in the regions follow.? If so one can only speculate as to the implications!!

  2. How do you solve a problem like probation? I'm not too sure if that's the right question really. The direction of travel must ultimately depend on the destination you want to arrive at.
    It's my opinion that probation has changed so much and so often over the last couple of decades that those who work in the service have very different ideas of what the destination should be.
    Social work based? Supervisory and enforcement ethic? Public protection agency? Law enforcement or a post custody monitoring body?
    I think they're all legitimate arguments of what the service should exist to provide, and for many people their idea of what the service should be will be partly shaped by what the service was like when they joined.
    I think it's worth remembering that someone who joined the service around the time NOMS was created have a fair few years in now and maybe considered by some to be long in the tooth.
    But there's still people who predate NOMS and they gave a different perception of what the service should be.
    It's a conundrum that's complicated by wider changes in the criminal justice system and political interference.
    The probation service means to many different things to too many different people, so before someone tries to fix it they need to be clear in their minds what they want the end result to look like.
    My own personal opinion is that it should be social work orientated and not so focused on law enforcement. But that's just my opinion.


    1. I joined the service after it was no longer social work based but before NOMS. We had a value base that was changing but still recognisable as social work albeit with some political influence pushing the enforcement side of things (which could be ignored providing y ou were prepared to stand up for yourself and your decisions). I have no idea what our current value base is. Whatever we are meant to be doing is couched in pretty civil service language that means nothing to me, generally sent in 15 email attachments I can't open and don't have time to read because I'm writing my third type of assessment this week on the same case. As far as I can tell my job description is to be all things to all people and to never ever say anything bad about anything. The so called independent parole boards appear to have different definitions of risk depending on how full the prisons are and we are either enforcing too much or too little on different days of the week. I've always loved my career choice, despite the fact that it's always been a political football - there always been a clear reason and all round benefit in doing what we do. This is nothing short of a farce. We employ hundreds of people doing things like quality audits and development tools. They have no fucking clue about people, about what's possible, about the fact that WE are the ONLY resource we have and we are finite no matter how many resilience and mindfulness briefings they make us attend. CRCs are failing but so is NPS and all we get from management is how amazing they are for forcing us to hit meaningless performance targets week after week. The thing is, that to me Probation has looked different within the context of each individual case. Yes there's an organisational overarching objective, but that's achieved in a different way for each person we work with. One size fits all doesn't work for cases or for staff and the much feted creativity that TR was meant to promote has been strangled by a real lack of understanding of what the front line role is meant to be. It's broken. I don't think it can fixed. But it's also breaking the people who encounter the whole sorry mess which in my book is unforgivable.

    2. At 20;52 .. well said - you echoe my thoughts .
      And all these targets are met at what costs! The cost to staff who go off sick with stress or come to work even tho they are ill.. I’m coming to the end of my tether soon.

  3. set probation and prison services apart from politics and let the purpose be (re)habilitation and inclusion into society. That way all those people we need with us can be contributing rather than thrown on the scrap heap which is what is happening now. Stop wasting people. Children in schools should be given a diverse spectrum of opportunities rather than everything being focussed on academia. All types of intelligence should be embraced and developed.

  4. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/06/british-justice-collapse-moj-prisons-probation-legal-aid-lord-chancellor-charles-falconer

    1. No one who knows anything about the justice system doubts it is in crisis, that the crisis is unprecedented, that it is rendering the system unable to perform its most basic functions. And that the victims of this are poor people.

      It is no longer reliably convicting only the guilty. The disclosure problems in serious sex cases have almost certainly resulted in innocent people being convicted. The system for releasing prisoners on parole is letting out those who are unsafe (John Worboys) and keeping inside those who are safe (see the relentlessly unfair incarceration under the IPP (indeterminate sentences for public protection) system.

      The prisons are as dangerous as they have ever been in modern times to prison officers and prisoners alike.

      The probation service has ceased to function in the face of a misconceived privatisation.

      Legal aid has been so restricted as a result of the terrible reforms contained in Laspo – the Legal Aid and Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2011 – that the government has maintained massively flawed decision-making systems for welfare, homelessness, and immigration decisions, safe in the knowledge that most of those who are the victims of wrong rulings have no effective means of redress. The civil non-family courts are only open to rich people (there is in effect no legal aid for civil claims now); and the family courts are filled with local authorities seeking to remove children from their parents, and disputes between couples in the middle of the pain – to them and their children – of partnership breakdown, and unable to obtain legal help to resolve these disputes.

      The cause of this crisis is pretty clear – the justice system has endured austerity cuts from 2011 onwards more punishing than any other domestic delivery department. And the cuts are continuing pretty well unabated for the next two years. There will, by 2020, have been a 40% reduction in real terms of public expenditure by the Ministry of Justice – £10bn down to £6bn, with £600m still to go. And all this on the basis that the system expects the same standards as before – the same level of justice, the same numbers of people in jail or more, and the same non-custodial alternatives. The government has offered no leadership on how this is to be achieved.

      The consequences of the crisis are profound. As Lord Judge, the former lord chief justice said, juries will increasingly not convict in serious cases. The public will have no confidence in the ability of the justice system to distinguish between the guilty and the innocent, and between the dangerous and the safe. The government will not be held to the law. Rights given to individuals by parliament are worthless to all save rich people who rarely need them to avoid injustice. Employers, the state, debtors – they can increasingly break the law unchallenged.

      Nothing meaningful is going on within government to address this. There are internal Ministry of Justice (MoJ) reviews of Laspo, and the working of the Parole Board; and an internal Crown Prosecution Service review of whether the disclosure in all recent sex cases was adequate: but absolutely nothing to address the evident collapse of almost all parts of the system, and the underlying reasons.

      There is the much vaunted £1bn capital fund to transform justice by improving buildings and technology. The example the MoJ points to as the exemplar outcome of this fund is a new online court to deal with civil claims under £25k. If this example shows the MoJ’s priorities, it is clear it has no comprehension of the scale of the current collapse. Fiddling while Rome burns.

      Some extra money was obtained, after much effort, from the Treasury to employ more prison officers to make up for a portion of those lost in the austerity cuts. This was well over a year ago, yet the prison service cannot fill all the places they have the money for. The retention rate for prison officers is plummeting both among long-service officers, and new ones who frequently leave quickly when they see the horror the job has become.

    2. Leadership, extra resources and reform to ensure that the justice system is never again allowed to fall below minimum standards are the solution. The new lord chancellor is not to blame for the crisis. David Gauke has to acknowledge the existence of it, rather than suggest the system is functioning properly with a few wrinkles. He will find support across all parties and in all walks of life for doing so.

      He needs to craft a plan that he can demonstrate has widespread support, not just from the lawyers but from those who depend on the justice system. He won’t get all that the system needs, but he won’t get anything unless he develops a series of solutions. He needs to work with a much wider group than just his department, and would find so much support if he embarked urgently on that process. Other government departments are actively campaigning for more resources for developed solutions. The MoJ’s failure to do so suggests either it does not understand the extent of the crisis, or is too defensive of its past errors to convey accurately within government the damage being done.
      MoJ spending huge sums on consultants to help deliver digital courts
      Read more

      The three priority areas for extra spending and reform are prison and probation, legal aid and the Crown Prosecution Service (the ministerial responsibility of the attorney-general). That extra expenditure is inevitable. The sooner it is acknowledged the less will be required. As the Thatcher government discovered, the failure to do anything about appalling prison conditions until the 1990 Strangeways prison riots cost a lot more than if it had addressed the problem earlier.

      But the solution is not just cash. It is also reform to provide long-term confidence that the system, which has so much less political support than health or education, should never be allowed to slip below minimum standards again. The Bach report, published last autumn, made the well-received recommendation that there should be an independent body within government to set minimum standards for justice. That would provide a strategic overview of expenditure, and protect those who need legal help with a degree of security that comes from there being insulation against legal expenditure always being the first to be cut in a crisis.

      A collapsing legal system damages not just those who suffer immediate injustice. It leaves us all vulnerable to the consequences of living in a society, where the law is unreliable and only enforceable by the rich.

      • Charles Falconer is a former lord chancellor and justice secretary

  5. Lord Adonis speaking on LBC radio about East Coast Mainline launched a scathing attack on Chris Grayling blaming him for the state of the current justice system and the ideological destruction of the probation service.


    1. Lord Adonis' Demolition Of Chris Grayling Is Devastating

      Lord Adonis accused Chris Grayling of being "monstrous" and "heartless" as the row over the East Coast Mainline escalated. The Transport Minister bailed out Stagecoach, one of the biggest companies in the country, after it said it couldn't make payments on the troubled rail franchise.

      Lord Adonis, a former Transport Minister himself, accused Mr Grayling of making the wrong choices, simply because he didn't want Jeremy Corbyn to look good.

      In a devastating attack on LBC, he told James O'Brien: "It doesn't matter whether you are left-wing or right-wing, it's about doing your job properly.

      "The right thing for Chris Grayling to have done is to set up a state company to take over these services when the private sector reneges on its contract and walks away.

      "The reason Chris Grayling wouldn't do that, which is the reason he has done all these bailouts, is because he doesn't want to be seen to give a point to Jeremy Corbyn on the question of public ownership. Even when, on a pragmatic value-for-money basis, it was the right thing to do. It would save money for the taxpayer. The reason he won't do it is because he has a right-wing ideologue who doesn't want to give a point to Jeremy Corbyn. And this is the same Chris Grayling who is an ardent Brexiter. It's all part of a world view."

      When James questioned whether he was right about Grayling being driven by ideological policies as opposed to rank incompetence, Lord Adonis got really savage.

      He said: "The reason he made a mess of Justice as the same ideologies. The first thing he did was to privatise the Probation Service, which was a monstrous thing to do, when there was no successful private operator who could take it over.

      "So what he essentially did was to destroy the Probation Service. He is also the guy who did was is possibly the most heartless thing any minister has ever done in the last generation, which was to ban prisoners from having books. The reason he did that was to appeal to the right wing of the Conservative Party, who think you should put people in a cell and throw away the key. So unfortunately, there is a world view there. The problem is, it's a terrible world view."

    2. At last, the truth is being spoken by someone who has been inside 'the machine':

      "When James (LBC host) questioned whether he (Adonis) was right about Grayling being driven by ideological policies as opposed to rank incompetence, Lord Adonis got really savage.

      He said: "The reason he made a mess of Justice was the same ideologies. The first thing he did was to privatise the Probation Service, which was a monstrous thing to do, when there was no successful private operator who could take it over.

      "So what he essentially did was to destroy the Probation Service."

      But why should Grayling care? He's financially set for life, with numerous directorships waiting in the wings once he leaves HoC for HoL. He's had his fun spending £bns of taxpayer money with impunity, most being handed out to privateer chums. He doesn't give a flying fuck. And no doubt he'll be the first to hide behind the proposed new "can't criticise politicians" laws - when he's been one of the most destructive, spiteful, abusive & deceitful creatures in recent parliamentary history.

  6. I think the question should be 'how do you solve a problem like Her Majesty's Prisons and Probation Service'.

    1. That's easy enough to answer.
      You remove the prison part and allow probation services to exercise autonomy once again.

    2. 1000% agree. We were screwed because they put the zoo keepers in charge. Probation is just far too nuanced a concept for most Prison staff and most civil servants.

    3. Engaging with someone around their harmful behaviour is both complex and necessarily unique to that person. Adding in the mandated aspect of Probation work adds further complexity. The only way that I can make sense of,that stands a chance of working is by establishing a professional rapport and relationship, engaging the individual motivationally, and then, based on thorough and ongoing assessment, collaborative work toward agreed goals. That means a one to one relationship with time to be meaningful. Beyond that the relationship needs supporting by others within the organisation and out. A collective focus. I don't care if you call it social, community, therapeutic or probation work. If it does not have those ingredients as a minimum it is unlikely to deliver substantially.

  7. How do you solve a problem like an escalating prison population?

    1967 - (Male 34,056)+(Female 953) = 35,009
    1993 - (Male 42,666)+(Female 1,580) = 44,246
    2003 - (Male 69,062)+(Female 4,595) = 73,657
    2013 - (Male 81,925)+(Female 4,123) = 86,048
    2017 - (Male 81,856)+(Female 4,007) = 85,863

    1995 - 150
    2001 - 1113
    2016 - 6660

    * that's a staggering 45x increase in 20 years !

    These are all Spurr's figures. Just look at them, post-CJA'91 & post-1999 "We are an Enforcement Agency".

    NOMS/HMPPS and the ministers that guide them need to look closer to home.

    Somewhere in those dark, empty husks they call hearts lie the bitter, spiteful policies of hateful creatures who are punishing others to compensate for their own inadequacies, their own losses and their own anger.

    Much like those blank inarticulate arseholes from Carillion who sat staring silently and defiantly at Frank Field in Parliamentary Committee today.

    1. The more people that are on licence the more recalls there will be.
      In the interests of fairness though, in 1995 people were not released on licence at the halfway mark, they did two thirds and no licence. Licence came if parole was granted before the two thirds was served.
      Far fewer on licence so far fewer recalled.
      However, in 1994 the prison population began to climb very dramatically and very quickly, and it never really stabilised. I'm at a loss to explain exactly why that was. Maybe someone can help?
      But there's a very real problem brewing with prisons full to the brim, and the number of people on licence growing with those being released on licence being extended less and less support and becoming more likely to be recalled and less bothered about it if they are.
      Something will happen soon that will force the government to do something. It's now critical.

      Having suggested the other day MPs could move to HMP Holloway during the refurbishment of Parliament, I was quite suppressed to see that Jeremy Corbyn has today suggested part of Holloway could be used for the homeless.
      Could he read this blog?


    2. 1. CJAct'91 was enacted '92 onwards, & thus subsequent politicisation of probation by incorporating it as a sentence of the Court. As you suggest it would be useful to look at the changes in sentencing patterns 1992-1994.

      2. Its exactly those observations around the policy changes to prison sentences & their structure that is reflected in the figures, i.e. Licences with recall were intended to improve the quality of post-prison experiences but in reality only served as a reason to return more & more people. Q,E.D the u.12 month licences have seen an explosion in recall numbers.

      Oh, and Good Evening Jezza.

  8. Don't quite understand the 3,000 un-enforced MTC UPW orders comment, unless it is referring to the practice in London by PP's not to routinely extend stand alone UPW orders at time of breach, or production on warrant and breach and therefore making the orders unenforceable before the user could possibly be expected to compete.
    The sentencing of working service users to long UPW orders without reference to their ability to be able to complete orders, the ridiculous number of closed projects, lack of supervisor cover, the appalling situation where users had absolutely no means of contacting their UPW officers (and even if they could they'd find they were "Ghosts"), PO's spending between 45 and 96 minutes trying to get through to a Control Centre on behalf of their service users- that's if they did not lose the will to live. Or simply the fact that MTC Novo have succeeded in surpassing even the asset stripping, staff sacking super dooper Serco in spectacularly stuffing up the Service.

    1. These 3000 refer to orders not even processed as yet and already in danger of expiry and in many cases already over the 12 month period.

  9. London traditionally never extended their operating periods for UPW, situation snowballed. Remember telling Heather Munro more than a year ago that the Courts were losing confidence in UPW and OM's were embarrassed extending orders again and again. Oh and forgot another reason for the large numbers, Service users re-offending and Courts sentencing without report, without reference to an up to date MG16 and no Court Officer available.... here's another 60 hours UPW- even though they have 199/200 from 6 months back to do and have never received a warning letter let alone had enforcement commenced or the short custodial sentences that mean they are unable to attend and have to pick up where they left off on release. No one notices because Delius profile number 3 has been set up.
    The split has meant that we are all working in the dark with no contact with the "other side"

    1. Helga S NOT Heather M!! though I confused Helga in a lift once for someone completely different and she ran out the door with a recommendation I speak to her PA. Heather also received a few home truths....