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Probation Services: Reoffending Rates

Volume 639: debated on Tuesday 24 April 2018

11. What assessment he has made of reoffending rates since the part-privatisation of probation services. (904904)

While the frequency of reoffending—in other words, the number of offences committed by prolific offenders—has risen since 2009, the base rate, or the number of people reoffending, has dropped by two percentage points since the introduction of community rehabilitation contracts.

In 2015, the Government commissioned two important reviews: the Dame Sally Coates review of education in prisons, which was mentioned earlier; and the Charlie Taylor review of the youth justice system. Both reviews highlighted basic failures in the current system and made important recommendations. Will the Minister tell me how many of those recommendations have been implemented?

My focus has been on the Dame Sally Coates review; youth justice is dealt with by the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my hon. Friend the Member for Bracknell (Dr Lee). The Dame Sally Coates review is driving the entire education transformation over the next 12 months, particularly in respect of the three indicators that I mentioned earlier, including the assessment of prisoners and coming up with a plan. I shall have to reply in writing to the hon. Lady’s question about exactly how many recommendations have been implemented.

The joint report of the inspectorates of probation and of prisons stated that if the key functions of community rehabilitation companies

“were removed tomorrow…the impact…would be negligible.”

So what exactly are we paying for?

I must respectfully disagree with that. As I have said, the base rate of reoffending has dropped by two percentage points, which is actually quite significant, as the rate was flat for nearly 40 years before that. It would be very dangerous indeed to remove the community rehabilitation companies, which are looking after 40,000 people who were previously under very short periods of supervision, and nearly 100,000 extra people who would be dangerous to the community if not properly monitored.