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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

November 30, 2005: Probation - Government Cowardice, says Howard League

The Howard League for Penal Reform has condemned the government for producing proposals that will result in the privatisation of community sentences and abolition of the probation service. Publishing a briefing paper on the day the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee considers the Home Office plans on the restructuring of the probation service, the charity said that the proposals amounted to a last desperate attempt to sustain the mounting shambles of the National Offender Management Service.

The campaigning organisation is sending a copy of the paper to the Home Office and the Treasury because of the huge cost implications for the taxpayer. The Howard League criticised the proposals in the consultation document for:

  • Being a bureaucratic change that will sound the death knell for a public probation service
  • Moving away from locally-accountable services to a regionally-based commissioning system for probation services in which private corporations will triumph over local expertise and knowledge
  • Discarding public service values
  • Failing to promote community sentences
  • Placing unknown and long-term costs on the public purse
  • Likely to undermine community sentences and result an increase in the number of ineffective, expensive short-term prison sentences, thereby creating more victims

Howard League director Frances Crook commented:

"These are dangerous proposals which increase the risk to the public, represent a death sentence for a public probation service and will not reduce crime. There is no evidence that yet another mammoth and costly reform is required and the decisions to do so are being taken behind closed-doors. Despite the appearance of consultation, these changes will be pushed through regardless of the widespread objection from the probation world, and with no real public debate. I am not sure that the public would be comfortable with the idea of private security companies managing problem offenders in the community."