Prisons and Probation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:35 pm on 14th May 2019.

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Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice 1:35 pm, 14th May 2019

When it comes to any decisions about prison closures, we will of course look at the evidence. We are not proposing any prison closures at this point, but we will always look at the evidence. Several factors will determine whether or not a prison closes, but its record on rehabilitation is clearly something that we would very much take into account.

Let me turn to probation. In particular, we have heard much about the transforming rehabilitation reforms that were introduced in 2014. When we consider the reforms, it is important that we recognise the benefits that the private and voluntary sectors have brought to the probation service, even if we accept that there have been challenges—and I accept that there are challenges. We need to acknowledge that with the transforming rehabilitation reforms came the supervision of 40,000 additional offenders being released from short prison sentences. Those were offenders who previously received little or no supervision or support on release, so it is a positive change for public safety. The shadow Secretary of State forgot to mention that reoffending rates for offenders managed by CRCs remain two percentage points lower than the rates for the same group of offenders in 2011. Of course, we want reoffending to be lower still, but it is lower.