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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

December 29, 2007: Prison Recalls Out Of Control, Says Napo

The number of prisoners recalled to jail because of a breach of their licence or further offences has increased sevenfold over the last 6 years, says probation union Napo.

The number recalled in 2000/1 was 2,457. By 2006/7 this had increased to 14,669. There was an increase in recalls by a staggering 58% over the last 12 months. The number of recalls to prison has increased therefore from 200 to nearly 1,400 a month. Recalls account for huge part of the monthly increase in prison numbers.

Prior to 2000 Probation staff exercised discretion in determining whether a prisoner should be returned to custody. The majority of those returned are for technical reasons such as failing to keep appointments, a positive drug test, being late, or what is termed inappropriate behaviour. The number recalled for serious offences is estimated at less than 10% of the total.

Case histories collected by Napo over the past 12 months confirm that scores were returned for failing to keep appointments, being late back following curfew arrangements at a hostel, for excess drugs or alcohol, and even for refusing to go to bed or alternatively to get out of bed.

Napo has written to MPs of all Parties asking them to support an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill which would ensure that a non-dangerous offender could only be returned to prison if the supervising officer was of the view, following relevant consultation, that there was no alternative. The amendment will be debated at Report Stage on 9th January. It has been tabled by Neil Gerrard of the Justice Unions all Party Group.

The Bill does provide for non-dangerous offenders who breach the terms of their licence to be recalled for a maximum of 28 days. However, this amendment would ensure they were not recalled in the first place. Napo estimates that if this clause were implemented it could reduce the number of receptions into custody each month by at least 600.

Napo Assistant General Secretary Harry Fletcher said:

“The removal of discretion from staff has been a disaster in terms of pressure on prison numbers. There are now nearly 1,400 receptions into custody each month because of licence failures. The majority of these failures are for technical reasons. Returning discretion to staff could reduce the number of admissions to custody each month by over 600. This would give the beleaguered Ministry of Justice the headroom it needs to avoid the costly use of police and magistrate court cells.”