Ian Lawrence and Ben Cockburn write:
The final Annual Report commissioned by the soon to retire Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell, makes for hugely disappointing if very predictable reading.
At an extremely well-attended on-line event yesterday, Justin and his team presented the key themes of his report, which was accompanied by a ground-breaking recommendation that an independent review of Probation should take place. Mr Russell also called for a discussion about the benefits of Probation being removed from HMPPS and restored to the communities it serves, and makes a thinly-veiled criticism of the ‘One HMPPS’ Programme that he believes constrains the service to the priorities of the Prison Service. See the statement in full
Napo quick to press Senior Probation Management to respond to the report
As we have previously said, Napo regularly engages on a range of important areas on behalf of our members. These include Pay, Workloads, Restructuring proposals e.g. Programme Delivery and Interventions, One HMPPS and Job Evaluation among many others. We are already challenging senior Probation management to tell us how the Chief Inspectors report can be acted upon to find solutions which will address the myriad problems it has exposed.
Later this year we expect to receive an invitation to provide verbal evidence to the Justice Select Committee where we will remind them of the comparison between our narrative and that of the Annual HMI Probation Report, which is itself highly likely to feature separately in the future work of that Committee.
No hiding place for Politicians
As made clear this week by the General Secretary in responding to Radio and Media contact, it is inescapably clear that there can be no hiding place for those Politicians whose previous incompetent involvement in Probation has cost lives and contributed to its demise over the last 10 years . Those running the show now, should understand that the report sends a clear message that under investment in the service presents a clear and present danger to public safety. They should also note the increasing trend of custody and licence activities to be prioritised over rehabilitation work in (and with) the community, which will only add to the depressing statistics around recidivism.
We will do our best during the remaining life of this current government, but there will be may Napo members who are fast coming to the conclusion that it will take a new government with a new approach, before we see the changes that are so desperately required.
See here for the full version of the report from Justin Russell watch the presentation below