Richard Garside, Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies today commented on a damning annual report by the Chief Inspector of Probation, Dame Glenys Stacey.
'None of government’s stated aspirations for Transforming Rehabilitation have been met in any meaningful way', Dame Glenys noted. She went on to question whether the current model for probation can deliver sufficiently well'.
Speaking today, Richard said:
This really grim report will come as little surprise to those who warned the government against its ill-conceived privatisation of probation prior to the 2015 General Election. Nor will it surprise those who have followed with concern the serious decline in probation work since then.
So dysfunctional have the government's probation changes become that active sabotage would look much the same. Whatever the government's original intentions, its changes to the probation system have not worked.
The government now needs to be as determined in remedying the problems in the probation system as it was in creating them in the first place.
It should launch an open and inclusive review of the current arrangements as soon as possible, seeking the views of a range of stakeholders, including: the private probation companies and their sub-contractors, staff representatives, voluntary and community sector providers and independent researchers and policy analysts.
In the longer-term, the government should draw a line under the mistakes of the past and commit to placing probation on a coherent and sustainable footing.
This will probably involve ending the failed privatisation experiment and reestablishing a unified, public sector probation service, organised locally and coordinated nationally.