Nia Griffith MP recently quizzed the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling, on the Government’s changes to the probation service. Speaking up at justice questions, Nia asked:
“What reports has the Secretary of State received of cases going unsupervised since the 21 community rehabilitation companies were formed on 1 June? If he has received any such reports, what does he intend to do about them?”
Commenting on the Minister’s response, Nia said:
“Did he answer directly? No.He waffled on about “…bedding in the new system…” and “ironing out the inevitable teething problems that accompany such a change.”
He also said he was “…confident that good progress is being made…” But I want ministers to have more than a misplaced confidence and to at least be able to show the results of pilot schemes and independent evaluation of their plans. They just do not want to be honest with the public about the risks involved as they change the probation service in preparation for privatisation later this year.
TheNational Probation Service (NPS) will deal with high risk offenders and 21 separate Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) will deal with the medium and low risk offenders. But during a prisoner’s sentence, their risk category may change and that means they will have to be transferred between the NPS and a CRC. The supervision of dangerous, sexual and violent offenders may be undertaken by inexperienced and unqualified staff and by companies without any track record in this area. This is outrageous.Safety should always be our top priority.