Tag Archives: probation

Opinion: Are we transforming rehabilitation?

On Tuesday the London ‘Standard’ had the depressing headline “Rioters in new crime wave”. According to official statistics 1593 of the 3914 people charged or cautioned by the Met following the riots in August 2011 have since reoffended.

At our Autumn Conference in the month following the riots, I raised concerns as a Haringey magistrate that a knee-jerk approach was being taken to sentencing, with courts sitting overnight, dishing out custodial sentences as fast as they could. Prisons became overcrowded, sometimes with three prisoners sharing a cell meant for one; and precious little rehabilitation was going on.

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Opinion: If we remove prison as an option for drugs possession, savings must go to boost probation service

Wormwood Scrubs prison - Some rights reserved by TheGooglyAs a magistrate in North London, I welcome the recent Liberal Democrat proposal to remove prison as a sentencing option for drug possession. I have seen so many defendants who are in and out of prison, never breaking the depressing cycle of re-offending. However to keep drug addicts out of prison we will need to make sure that the alternatives work.

Currently it is very rare that first time offenders accused of drug possession would be sent to prison With first time offenders, the …

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Opinion: The future of the probation service

In 2004, the last government merged the prison and probation services into one gigantic super-agency: the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). The changes exacted by NOMS have led to the systematic fragmentation and demoralisation of probation, whose purpose has been altered beyond all recognition.

Unrepresented at the highest management structure of NOMS, neglected and misrepresented, the probation service has for years plodded along in the shadows, only to be thrust into the limelight when the spotlight fell on individual tragedies amid media frenzies.

The creation of NOMS bought with it the mantra of ‘managerialism.’ Staff at all levels experienced a loss …

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