Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is presenting false evidence to justify the sell-off of the probation service, according to the probation officers’ union.
A pilot scheme offering support to male prisoners on their release was trumpeted by the government as “groundbreaking” and used as justification for privatising probation after it was shown to reduce re-offending by 12 per cent.
But Napo was quick to point out that the scheme, involving voluntary-sector workers at HMP Peterborough, was with offenders serving less than 12 months — a group probation officers have never worked with.
Napo says repeated requests over the years to allow them to work with this category of offenders have been continually ignored by the government.
Mr Grayling often uses the high reoffending rates of prisoners serving less than 12 months as a reason to push through his privatisation agenda, despite the figures having no relation to the Probation Service.
His plans to outsource 70 per cent of services to security corporations have been increasingly criticised as dangerous. First by unions and opposition members and then by probation trust chiefs.
At a parliamentary debate on the matter on Wednesday evening Mr Grayling trotted out the results of the pilot scheme and then left before members could address their concerns.
Napo general secretary Ian Lawrence said: “Chris Grayling fails to publish that reoffending rates of those who undergo probation supervision has been falling every year since 2000.
“The Justice Secretary was challenged on the lack of evidence back in January 2013 and was told ‘sometimes we just have to believe something is right and do it.’ I find it very worrying that the he is prepared to base the destruction of the Probation Service on a gut instinct.”