Howard League slams government proposals

The Howard League for Penal Reform today accused the government of producing plans that will result in the privatisation of community sentences and abolition of the probation service.

As the home affairs select committee considers the plans to restructure the probation service, the penal reform charity warned that the plans amounted to a last desperate attempt to “sustain the mounting shambles of the National Offender Management Service”.

The Howard League criticised the proposals in the consultation for:-

• Failing to promote community sentences

• Discarding public service values

• Being a bureaucratic change that will sound the death knell for a public probation service

• Placing unknown and long-term costs on the public purse

“These are dangerous proposals which increase the risk to the public, represent a death sentence for a public probation service and will not reduce crime,” said Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

“There is no evidence that yet another mammoth and costly reform is required and the decisions to do so are being taken behind closed doors.

“I am not sure that the public would be comfortable with the idea of private security companies managing problem offenders in the community,” she concluded.

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