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Probation Supervision: Short Sentences

Volume 661: debated on Tuesday 4 June 2019

8. If he will make it his policy to end the requirement for 12 months of probation supervision for people with sentences of less than 12 months. (911113)

It is absolutely vital that prisoners get the support they need after release to turn their lives around. It would be premature to reverse reforms that, for the first time, saw those released on short sentences supervised after release, with a period dedicated solely to rehabilitation. We have already looked at ways of making that process more proportionate, but as my hon. Friend will know, I want to look at the broader question of short sentences and measures that actually serve to reduce reoffending.

If I may trespass for one moment on your good will, Mr Speaker, given the previous question, perhaps you would like to join me in congratulating the Nacro winners, who are in the Public Gallery at the moment and who are about to join me for tea in the Pugin Room—where are they? They are putting their hands up so they can be congratulated by all of us in the House today, who appreciate what probation staff and those who work with prisoners do for us.

Does the Secretary of State agree that we should put real resource into alternatives to custody, so that we can end the cycle of reoffending and stop all our constituents from suffering from further crime?

I join in the congratulations to the prize winners in the Gallery and welcome them to the House of Commons.

I agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of alternatives to custody, and I am keen to ensure that we make greater use of curfews, exclusion zones and new ways in which we can restrict offenders in the community in a way that can be more effective in reducing future reoffending.

17. Failings in the probation system were found by the probation service to have contributed to the death of my constituent, Nicholas Churton, who was murdered, but unfortunately, the content of the report has not been made available either to me or to his family. Will the Department—either the Secretary of State or the new Minister responsible for probation and prisons, the hon. and learned Member for South Swindon (Robert Buckland)—meet me to discuss how we can have an open system that looks to improve when errors have occurred? (911122)

I know that the new Minister—let me take this opportunity to welcome him to his post—would be delighted to meet the hon. Gentleman.

19. Can the Secretary of State reassure Members that underperforming companies involved in probation —for example, G4S and Sodexo—will not be allowed in future to apply for any of the new contracts that the Government are going to issue shortly? (911124)

We will look at the merits of all the bidders for those new contracts, but I am not going to draw up any red lines today. The bids will need to be looked at in their totality.