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18.02.13

Probation privatisation ‘chaotic and dangerous’ – Napo

Privatising the probation service for low and medium risk offenders will put the public at greater risk, probation officers have warned.

In a briefing for MPs, Napo claimed that ministers’ plans to put probation services out to tender with private companies could lead to “chaos”.

Harry Fletcher, the assistant general secretary of Napo, said: “The Government's plans are both chaotic and dangerous. Risk is not static; it constantly changes. Offenders are generally not a compliant, problem-free group of people.

“They disproportionately suffer from mental illness, are four times more likely than the general population to misuse drugs and are 10 times more likely to have been in care. They need to be supervised by experienced staff who can motivate them and properly assess risk.”

Justice minister Jeremy Wright said: “This is scaremongering. Reoffending rates have barely changed in a decade, and almost half of all prisoners are reconvicted within a year of their release. We cannot go on just doing more of the same.

“We will harness the best of the public, voluntary and private sectors and I'm absolutely confident that all three can work together to manage risk and protect the public.”

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