Category Archives: Probation in Prisons

Transforming Rehabilitation – further improvements, but problems remain

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 17.31.25Fifteen months after the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation, the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies are now working better together, but some significant problems remain. Advice given to courts is less reliable in some cases, and work to prepare prisoners on release needs a greater focus, said Dame Glenys Stacey, HM Chief Inspector of Probation, as she published the fifth and final report on the implementation of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme.

The report, Transforming Rehabilitation – Early Implementation 5 – relates to findings from inspections undertaken in October 2015 to February 2016. Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) were transferred from public to private ownership on 1 February 2015. HM Inspectorate of Probation has now begun a new inspection programme and will shortly be publishing a series of reports on the quality and impact of probation work, supplemented by thematic inspections.

During Early Implementation 5 inspections, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • written and oral reports provided to the courts by National Probation Service (NPS) staff to assist in sentencing and to guide those supervising individuals with a community sentence varied in quality and there were some gaps in information;
  • some staff preparing those reports had not received sufficient training and lacked confidence in completing the necessary assessments;
  • over two-thirds of offenders released from prison had not received enough help from the CRC pre-release in relation to accommodation, employment or finances; and
  • in some areas, a shortage of probation officers meant that CRC agency staff were allocated medium risk of harm cases for which they felt insufficiently trained.

However, inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • most offenders allocated to the NPS saw their responsible officer soon after sentence or release and offenders were generally allocated quickly to a CRC responsible officer;
  • in many NPS cases, work to reduce reoffending and the risk of harm to others was good;
  • NPS work with many high-risk offenders was good and included effective joint working with specialists, good use of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) and an active contribution to child protection procedures; and
  • CRC arrangements to return an offender to court if in breach of their sentence or when an individual’s risk is increasing appeared to have improved.

In previous reports inspectors made a number of recommendations to drive improvements. Future inspections will continue to examine the areas covered by these earlier recommendations.

Dame Glenys Stacey said:

“To speed up justice, courts require probation advice quickly, and often without the time for a written report. With a fault line between the NPS and CRCs under the new probation arrangements, reporting has become less reliable, and yet CRCs as well as courts are reliant on good reports to guide their work. We found the NPS working well overall, but this is a real weakness. We know that NPS want to improve performance here, and we urge those involved to focus particularly on the difficult job of getting together quickly the information they need from others to produce effective oral reports.

“CRCs have important new responsibilities preparing prisoners for release and promoting their rehabilitation, and yet this is not being given sufficient priority in some areas at the moment. Instead CRC staff are often heads down and focused on more immediate contract requirements. While we appreciate that constant pressure, we do expect managers to focus on the quality of work done, most particularly for prisoners set for release. Without sufficient preparation, those released are more likely to offend again and so find themselves back inside.”

A copy of this report can be found on HM Inspectorate of Probation’s website at http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation

Little or no progress at all in moving young offenders to adult probation services say Inspectors

Little progress has been made in improving the preparation and planning for young people to move from youth offending services to adult probation services and this can affect their rehabilitation, said Alan MacDonald, Assistant Chief Inspector of Probation. Today HM Inspectorate of Probation published the report of an inspection of transition arrangements. Today’s report, Transition… Continue Reading

4000 Probation Staff Continue Strike Action

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RELEASED PRISONERS FACE TRAVEL BAN

Newly released prisoners face being banned from moving around the country when they leave jail to ensure they attend rehabilitation programmes, the Justice Secretary told MPs today. Chris Grayling told the House of Commons Justice Committee that he did not want offenders to lose the support of probation services if they “travel 200 miles up… Continue Reading

‘MAVERICK’ PRISON GOVERNOR TELLS PROBATION STAFF “GET OUT OF MY JAIL!”

A prison governor has ordered all probation staff off the premises after the local probation trust teamed up with a private security firm to try to take over the running of his jail. Bob Mullen, the governor of Lindholme prison, told South Yorkshire Probation Trust that he was excluding all its staff to protect the… Continue Reading

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