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Probation shake-up ‘a gamble’ in East Lancashire
GOVERNMENT plans to transfer the supervision of low-risk offenders from the probation service to the private sector have received a mixed reaction.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling yesterday announced that security firms and voluntary groups would in future manage probation on a ‘payment by results’ basis.
Prisoners on short sentences will also have to undertake rehabilitation for the first time.
Blackburn MP and former Justice Secretary Jack Straw questioned whether payment-by-results had been fully tested and he suggested the government was taking ‘a reckless gamble with public safety’.
Lancashire Probation Service Trust chief executive Kevin Robinson said: “I welcome the fact that some prisoners released from short sentences will be supervised on release for the first time but am sad we were were not allowed to bid for that work.
"I hope the Lancashire probation service can work in partnership with private sector and charity organisations on this.
“I am concerned at the fragmentation of the supervision of offenders from court appearance through custody on release that these proposals may cause and problems of lack of communication that could result.”
Pendle Tory MP Andrew Stephenson said: “This is a good idea. We need to look at all options for supervising released offenders including the probation service and private and charity sectors working together.”
Under the proposals, responsibility for monitoring 200,000 medium- and low-risk offenders will transfer to private companies and charitable bodies paid according to their results in cutting re-offending.
The public probation service will continue to supervise 50,000 high-risk offenders, including all serious violent and sexual offenders.
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