Transforming rehabilitation

04/10/2016 09:45:00

This month has seen a welcome focus on the performance of resettlement and supervision services for people in the community, following one of the biggest shakeups of probation in its history. The Public Accounts Committee published the findings of their inquiry, concluding that the Ministry of Justice has yet to bring about their promised 'rehabilitation revolution'.

A report was also published by the Criminal Justice Joint Inspection into resettlement support for short sentenced prisoners. This follows the recent extension of mandatory supervision and through the gate support to all people serving prison sentences of less than 12 months—one of the flagship policies of Transforming Rehabilitation. The report raised concerns about the performance of the new reforms to date, with none of the 86 people whose cases were inspected securing a job on release. They also found that public protection arrangements for short sentenced prisoners were weak.

Commenting on the report, Peter Dawson, Director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

"While Transforming Rehabilitation has so far failed to deliver the promised ‘rehabilitation revolution’, mandatory and disproportionate year-long supervision has put an extra spin on the revolving door of crime. A sharp increase in recalls to prison has placed additional pressure on our already overstretched, overcrowded and unsafe local prisons. Positive incentives and the active support and engagement of providers, not punitive measures, are needed if people on release from prison are to succeed in turning their lives around.”

BBC Radio 4's File on 4 has heard from families who have lost loved ones and have struggled to find answers; staff who are concerned that the service has been split in two, and Joy Doal at Anawim women's centre in Birmingham raised concerns that many vulnerable women were being recalled to prison for breaching probation orders, following short sentences for minor offences.