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Community Sentence Treatment Requirements

Volume 685: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2020

What steps the Government are taking to increase the use of community sentence treatment requirements. (909932)

My hon. Friend is right to raise community sentence treatment requirements as an important area to push, expand and develop. The Government firmly believe that, where someone has mental health problems, or drug or alcohol addiction causing the offending behaviour, treating the causes of the offending is very often a much better sentence than a short custodial term in terms of rehabilitation and reducing reoffending. So we certainly intend to expand the roll-out of these. They operate already in 14 areas and we intend to make sure that half the country is covered for mental health treatment through CSTRs by 2023-24. We are looking at other ways in which we can speed up the roll-out even further.

The new probation system is set to be in place in the next few months, with unpaid work and key programmes to stop criminals reoffending to be delivered by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service from next June. Seetec has recently been awarded a Ministry of Justice contract for a co-financing organisation activity hub in the south-east region, to deliver support to help offenders reintegrate back into society. The hub will be based in Chatham, with a satellite provision in my constituency at St Leonards-on-Sea. Can my hon. Friend confirm that there is still a role for the private sector in offender rehabilitation, even if not by community rehabilitation companies?

My hon. Friend asks a good question. CRCs are being transitioned out and the probation service will take over organising this activity, but within that there will be opportunities for private sector, or indeed charitable sector, organisations to bid to provide certain kinds of activity and certain kinds of rehabilitation work via the dynamic framework. We envisage eventually spending about £100 million a year on procuring these services via the dynamic framework. Any organisation, such as the one she mentions, that has something to offer and can help with rehabilitation is, of course, strongly encouraged to bid for those services to make sure we are drawing on the full range of available services as we try to rehabilitate offenders and build a better life for their future and protect our constituents as well.