Roll up, Roll up, its the great Probation Sell Off

UNISON, is calling on the government to put a stop to its plans to sell off the probation service and drastically alter the way it is provided. The union is warning that this will ‘destroy the service as we know it’, ahead of an announcement on the future of the service which is expected later today (9th May).

GraylinG4s plans to privatise the majority (70%) of the probation service, including offender management for all but the most dangerous cases. The services it provides will be parcelled up into big regional contracts, and sold off to the cheapest possible provider.

We are deeply concerned about the introduction of a risky ‘payment by results’ model, which does not take into account the demands of more difficult cases and is unproven in the field.

Unison are calling on the government to recognise the success of our probation service, which met all of its targets in 2011/12, and won the prestigious ‘British Quality Foundation Gold Award for Excellence’. Reoffending rates for those individuals who are supervised by the Probation Service on managed programmes show a reduction in reoffending rates of 35%.

Ben Priestly, UNISON National Officer for police and justice, said:

“There is already a very successful organisation that is busy rehabilitating offenders in England and Wales and protecting our communities from re-offenders – it’s called the Probation Service.

“It is a testament to the hard work of the service that reoffending rates have fallen to 35%. But instead of building on this success, the government wants to tear the service up and destroy it as we know it. Selling these vital services off to the lowest bidder will spark a race to the bottom.

“What we need is a ‘rehabilitation revolution’. For too long we have relied on ineffective prisons that fail to reform offenders, to keep our communities safe. By comparison, community sentences work, and help to turn round the lives of troubled people. What won’t work are the Government’s plans to regionalise and privatise Probation.”