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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

February 9, 2006: New 5 year Strategy To Stop Re-offending

The Government today announced their five-year strategy to reduce re-offending. The strategy includes a significant increase in the total amount of visible, unpaid work carried out by offenders in the community as part of community sentencing. In 2005, offenders carried out 5 million hours of work in their communities under the Community Payback initiative. Under the new strategy that will double to 10 million hours. The Government believes that visible reparation is a key element in reducing the problem of re-offending.

The strategy combines public work with a number of other changes:

  • Full use of rehabilitation processes, including support for health problems and educational advancement
  • Help to 'go straight' for every individual
  • Community prisons, so that inmates can maintain family ties, and smoothly integrate into the community after their release
  • The development of "contestability" (arguably de facto privatisation)

Other key developments include:

  • A new indeterminate sentence for public protection, which means that seriously dangerous offenders will not be released until the Parole Board assess that it is safe to do so. In some cases, this may be never.
  • Better parole decisions, with the Parole Board putting the safety of the public first; and every released lifer living under the threat of recall to prison.
  • Continuous improvement in the way offenders are supervised in the community, with better management of risk and offender manager

The new strategy recognises that sending people to prison is not the only way of punishing them. Action that is promised includes:

  • Faster and fairer justice for minor offences, including extending the use of conditional cautions. Conditions can include paying compensation or making another kind of direct reparation to the victim of the crime.
  • Day fines, which vary according to ability to pay – so that fines will be as tough for a rich offender as for a poorer one.
  • Replacing all existing community penalties with a single Community Order, with a mix of up to twelve different requirements.
  • Putting unpaid work at the heart of community sentences – rising from 5 million hours in 2003 to approaching 10 million by 2011.
  •  All unpaid work branded as Community Payback putting focus on the fact that offenders have to make amends to society for the wrong they have done, giving local councils and communities a say in what offenders do, and making it much more visible.
  • New sentences which combine prison with community punishment and supervision afterwards, working better to stop people offending again.

Whether offenders are in prison or in the community, there is a recognition of the need to manage them better to stop them re-offending. There will be a named offender manager for every offender, who will be responsible for making sure that they are both punished and rehabilitated properly; and who will get involved as early as possible in managing the offender.

The strategy endorses the need to "harness the dynamism and talents of a broader range of innovative and effective providers from the public, private and voluntary and community sectors", which will be seem by some as de facto privatisation. This will involve:

  • A system built on commissioning so that those who buy services for offenders are separated out from the providers of those services – so that there is no incentive to deliver services that do not work.
  • A phased programme of contestability for Prison and Probation Services, with a prospectus, so that the government can ensure that services are provided by the best possible partnerships and providers, drive up standards, and improve results so that we can cut re-offending still further and faster.
  •  Legislation to turn Probation Boards into Probation Trusts, giving flexibility to get the best possible providers of probation services, with the focus on improving standards, not cutting costs.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke stated:

"A shocking truth is that more than half of all crime in this country is committed by people who have been through the criminal justice system before. The idea that "prison works" in stopping re-offending is demonstrably wrong. We have to stop people re-offending, and this strategy will meet that challenge."