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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

January 13, 2005: Management of Offenders and Sentencing: Probation Response

The government publishes the Management of Offenders and Sentencing Bill today. The Bill builds on changes already underway with the establishment of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and changes to the sentencing framework. It is intended to support the development of the NOMS within the existing legislative framework of the correctional services.

The Bill extends the Home Secretary's powers to direct the contracting out of probation services; it makes provision for the constituent parts of the NOMS and the police to share information with one another and it imposes a duty on a local probation board to secure that a sentence plan is prepared for every offender who receives a custodial or community sentence. The Bill also includes a number of measures to increase parity between private and public sector prisons. The bill will:

  • Establish the aims of the NOMS and the core offender management function;
  • Give the Home Secretary greater powers to direct how probation boards can contract with the private or voluntary sector;
  • Extend the use of electronic monitoring for offenders on community sentences and bail; and polygraph tests for sex offenders on licence;
  • Introduce a new day fine scheme to help restore confidence in the use of the fine as a credible and effective punishment;
  • Extend the remit of the Sentencing Guidelines Council to include consideration of the capacity of the correctional services;
  • Fulfil a long-standing Government commitment to place the Ombudsman for NOMS on a statutory footing.
  • Give directors and prison custody officers in contracted-out prisons some powers already possessed by those in public sector establishments, such as holding adjudications and authorising the use of segregation.

The sentencing reforms in the Bill derive from the recommendations of the Carter review, which proposed a day fines scheme. The Bill includes a new scheme for calculating fines which takes into account in each case the gravity of the offence and the daily disposable income of the offender. This involves related changes to the standard scale to bring it into line with the new scheme. The purpose of the new scheme is to reduce fine defaults and help revive the use of fines by the courts. The measure amending the Sentencing Guidelines Council's role will require the Council, when framing or revising guidelines, to have regard to the resources which are likely to be available for giving effect to sentences.

The Bill makes three provisions to extend the use of technology in improving the management of offenders. Two provisions extend the use of electronic monitoring, one for offenders serving community sentences and the other for defendants on bail who would otherwise have been remanded in custody. A further provision enables the wider use of polygraph (lie-detector) testing in the management of sex offenders to be explored.

Correctional Services Minister Paul Goggins noted that contestability was central for NOMS:

"Reducing crime and protecting the public remain the Government's top priorities. This Bill, which establishes both the aims of NOMS and the core function of offender management, will help achieve these goals. We will also ensure that we are getting the best services from the best providers by placing contestability at the heart of NOMS. The greater use of new technology and other sentencing reforms will put us in a better position to ensure offenders receive effective punishments whilst ensuring that prison is reserved for the most dangerous and persistent offenders."

Criminal Justice Minister Baroness Scotland added:

"The measures in the Bill will ensure that sentences are managed with a consistency and rigour that will really challenge the individual offender to change their ways and lead a law abiding life on the conclusion of that sentence."