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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 28, 2008: Call To End Orange Clothes For Community Payback

Probation union Napo has issued a call for the withdrawal of distinctive clothing for those working on Community Payback.

From Monday 1st December, the government will introduce a mandatory requirement that all offenders undertaking Community Payback, formerly Unpaid Work or Community Service, must wear a distinctive orange high visibility vest with a Community Payback logo on the front and the word ‘Community Payback’ on the back. The wording should be in purple and be no less than 30mm high. The government states that its intention is to make the public more aware of the offenders, their work and their projects.

Napo has issued its call for the withdrawal of this policy on the grounds that it is demeaning, excluding and potentially dangerous. The probation union has asked that the implementation date be delayed on the grounds that the equipment and clothing isn’t available, and is demanding risk assessments for all relevant placements.

Napo believes that the practice will be dangerous on the grounds that high visibility can lead to easy identification and the targeting of offenders by others from rival gangs. The union is aware of at least three incidents in recent months where there have been shootings at Unpaid Work projects. The probation union argues that making the individuals more prominent will increase the risk of violent attacks and provocation.

In addition, negative reaction by individuals forced to wear the labeled clothing may lead to either aggressive responses to the requirement or refusal to work. These will then lead to breach action, more work for staff and will ultimately increase prison numbers because of re-sentencing.

The retrospective use of vests may well be unlawful and render any enforcement proceedings problematic. At the point of sentence a court must be satisfied that an individual knows what is entailed by the order of the court. The initiative has also been referred to the Commission for Equalities & Human Rights on the grounds that it might lead to ethnic or racist stereotyping where projects are likely to have disproportionate members from these groups.

The government has conceded that where a placement risk assessment identifies that it would be unsafe to wear vests they should not be worn. Napo believes that the wearing of high visibility vests will always raise the level of risk and it will argue that, in all relevant cases, on the grounds that the very purpose of the vest is to draw attention to the individuals doing Unpaid Work. In instances where this cannot be achieved, Napo will demand a supplementary risk assessment each time a Group is planned to go out.

Napo Assistant General Secretary Harry Fletcher said:

“The government is claiming that this initiative is being introduced to raise public awareness. That can be done in other ways, for example by a plaque after the work is completed. The real intention of the vests is to make the government look tougher on crime and to demean the offenders”.

“There are, however, real health and safety considerations. There have already been a number of attacks and incidents on Unpaid Work placements. The use of high visibility vests seems certain to increase the risk. Napo is, therefore, advising all its members to demand risk assessments and, if proved, to ensure that the clothing is stood down.”