Tuesday 11 May 2004

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson

Penal shake-up spells chaos union warns

A shake-up of the penal system could result in probation officers
being sacked and serious offenders going unsupervised, a union
predicted last night.

More than 1,200 probation officers will strike today against the
planned merger of the prison and probation service next

Under the plans to create a National Offender Management Service,
both the probation service and private competitors would be
commissioned to provide custody and supervise offenders released
into the community.

But the National Association of Probation Officers claim this will
lead to chaos in monitoring newly released prisoners and the
eventual privatisation of the probation service.

Source:- Independent  Tuesday 11 May page 6

Probation staff face competition

Probation officers have been warned that unless they meet
government targets the Home Office “will simply get someone
else to do the job”, according to a leaked management

London probation managers have told staff they will face
competition from private companies and voluntary organisations to
carry out some work with offenders from next April.

The worst performing units are to be “named and shamed”
while the best units will be rewarded, according to the London
Probation Board internal paper.

Source:- The Guardian  Tuesday 11 May page 9

Asylum legal aid system ‘abused’

A quarter of law firms specialising in representing asylum seekers
abused the legal aid system last year by over-claiming tens of
millions of pounds.

The government claims 97 firms took on hopeless cases just to claim
the money.

Source:- The Guardian  Tuesday 11 May page 11

Scottish newspapers

Police investigate claim sisters were left home alone

Police are investigating allegations that two girls were left home
alone in Lanarkshire while their parents went on holiday.

It is believed the girls aged 10 and 14 had been left to look after
themselves while their parents took a two-week break to

Strathclyde police were called to a house in the Fairhill area of
Hamilton, Lanarkshire, after concerned neighbours raised the

Source:- The Scotsman  Tuesday 11 May

Jamieson told to reveal reliance contract

Justice minister Cathy Jamieson has been ordered to publish the
executive’s contract with security firm Reliance.

The Scottish Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion has given
Jamieson 10 days to publish the contract with the firm responsible
for escorting prisoners at courts in the west of Scotland.

Six prisoners have been freed in error since the firm took over the
contract last month.

Source:- The Scotsman  Tuesday 11 May

Welsh newspapers

Inquest told killer farmer jealous

A farmer who shot dead a pub landlady before turning a gun on
himself believed that he was the father of her unborn child.

William Davies killed Caroline Evans in February last year and an
inquest was told that Davies, who was receiving psychiatric
treatment, was insanely jealous and delusional.

He had already threatened Evans on previous occasions and had
received 60 hours community service. Caroline’s father David
Evans, told the inquest that his daughter was failed by the Crown
Prosecution Service and the health service who did not protect her
from a man with serious psychiatric problems.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 11 May pages 1 and 3

Parent left in the dark over risk of bed sharing with

Parents in Wales have not yet received updated advice on the
safety aspects of bed-sharing with small babies.

While the Department of Health in England has just issued new
advice about the risks of both cot deaths and accidental deaths in
babies who share beds with their parents, and made it available in
all maternity units in England, a Welsh version of the advice is
yet to be published.

A Welsh assembly spokesperson said that a leaflet was in the
pipeline, but could not confirm when it would be available for
parents in Wales.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 11 May page 9

Bold bid to help older people

A half-page feature on the need for a Commissioner for Older
People in Wales.
Welsh assembly deputy minister with special responsibility for
older people, John Griffiths presents the case for a commissioner
and argues that older people in Wales, need a champion and advocate
to represent their interests.

Source:- Western Mail Tuesday 11 May page 10


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