Privatised Probation System

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:06 pm on 4th March 2019.

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Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons 5:06 pm, 4th March 2019

In the field of justice policy, as in the field of health policy, arguments are being reduced to a notion that if the public sector provides a service it is automatically better than if the private sector does so. That is completely irrelevant and just a lazy substitute for producing any real ideas on what can be done to improve rehabilitation. I am very attracted by the Department’s idea that we might replace prison sentences of six months and less, because prison tends to toughen up the inadequate and unpleasant people who get those short sentences and need to be punished. It is essential that we strengthen the effectiveness of our probation-based rehabilitation services alongside that. I welcome what the Minister has announced, but does he accept that we need more trials of what can be done in various parts of the country so that we can carry public confidence, if we change the sentencing system, that people can be punished, but punished in a way that might more effectively stop them committing more crimes against the public when they are released?