Steve McCabe MP consults on probation reforms with Birmingham stakeholders

Steve McCabe MP, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Selly Oak and member of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee has conducted a consultation on the Government’s probation reforms.

The Ministry of Justice’s recent strategy document, Transforming Rehabilitation: A Strategy for Reform, published on 9th May 2013, sets out a number of proposed reforms to the rehabilitation system in both custody and in the community.

The Government has produced three key proposals: to extend a minimum statutory period of statutory rehabilitation to around 65,000 short-term prisoners; to reorganise the prison estate; and to create a new public sector probation service to allow different types of voluntary organisations to provide rehabilitation services. Some 19,000 cases of low and medium risk offenders across the West Midlands and Staffordshire will be opened up to the new providers.

Steve McCabe MP said: “I know that a number of representative groups, including the Probation Association and the Probation Chiefs Association have raised a number of concerns with the proposals, and I am interested to hear the thoughts of Birmingham stakeholders on the proposed changes”

“A number of issues concern me: the context in which this proposed reform takes place, where the Ministry of Justice is attempting to cut some £2bn from its budget by 2014-15; more than 45,000 additional offenders will require support under the reforms.

“This raises the question about whether the existing pot of money will be spread more thinly to deliver these changes. There are also significant questions to be answered as to whether the restructuring of the prison service will be able to take place against a backdrop of budget cuts without the service becoming fragmented and, ultimately, putting the protection of the public at risk.

“I am also concerned at the split between the public and private providers on the basis of an offender’s risk level, which takes no account of the 25% of all cases where offenders move between risk levels. I am interested to hear views on this important subject, so if you would like to contribute a response to my consultation please email me at stephen.mccabe.mp@parliament.uk

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