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Letter: Probation staff's dedicated work
2:38pm Monday 20th August 2012 in Opinion
in response to your ‘Post-prison crime shock’ article, (August 15) regarding the published reoffending rates, East Lancashire MP Graham Jones is quoted as saying: “These reoffending rates are disturbing but too many inmates have received slaps on the wrist before they get there. Reoffending rates for community service orders and fines are even worse.”
This statement is incorrect on a number of levels. Firstly, reoffending rates for offenders sentenced to community orders are significantly lower than offenders serving prison sente- nces. Our figures show that between January and December 2011, 11% of offenders under Lancashire Probation supervision went on to reoffend.
Secondly, community orders are not a soft option. A court has the power to implement a two-year order with up to 300 hours of unpaid work; a requirement to attend a general offending behaviour programme of 22 weeks duration with each session lasting two hours; and a curfew enforced by electronic tag.
The supervising offender manager can also make the offender report for alcohol or drug treatment or indeed employment advice.
A recent survey by 598 offenders supervised by Lancashire Probation Trust showed they either generally agreed or strongly agreed that being on supervision made them a better person (63%); less likely to offend (85%); learn new skills which will help them in the future (65%); that the offender manager inspired them to do well in their lives (89%); and helped them to sort out most of the problems that made them offend (69%).
I felt it important to point out the excellent work carried out on a daily basis by dedicated staff working to make communities in Lancashire safer.
Penny Barker, Director of Operations, Lancashire Probation Trust.
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