Privatised Probation System

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

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 5:06 pm, 4th March 2019

In Scotland, the probation service role is carried out by criminal justice social workers, who are part of local authorities’ social work departments—in other words, it is a public service, and I believe that that is as it should be. Effective reintegration and rehabilitation of offenders is at the heart of the Scottish system—rather than profit and hitting targets—and lately in Scotland, of course, we have had great success with getting rid of short-term sentences, which has led to a fall in the rate of reoffending. Does the Minister accept that probation should never be run for private profit and that reunifying the probation service under public control is the only way to properly protect the public across England and Wales?

Finally, this fiasco is part of a long list of scandalous wastes of public money for which the Minister’s colleague Chris Grayling, has been responsible in his roles as Secretary of State for Justice and Secretary of State for Transport. This is one of two such scandals that have come to light over the weekend. We are hearing rumours that he is not coming to the House later today to answer the urgent question about the ferry tendering disaster, so I ask the Minister, for whom I have the greatest respect—I realise that none of this is his fault—to tell us when the right hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell is going to be held to account for his shocking irresponsibility with taxpayers’ money.