Bid to rejig service prompts warnings

The government’s plan to restructure the probation service could undermine community sentences, the Howard League for Penal Reform said this week.

The charity warned that more private companies could be brought in to run services under the proposals to open the service to competition from independent and voluntary sector providers.

In response to a Home Office consultation paper, it raised concerns over whether local voluntary sector organisations would be able to compete with national or international private companies.

It also argued that government plans to transfer the current statutory duties of local probation boards to regional offender managers would “shrink” local services.

The charity sent its submission to the Home Office this week as the plans were debated by the House of Commons home affairs committee.

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