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

It certainly is “in due course”.

Finally, as we debate these issues we should recognise that the challenges in the current system are not down to the work of probation staff. Their hard work and professionalism, in both the NPS and CRCs, is tremendous and I pay tribute to them. Probation is a vocational career, and as part of the future arrangements we are looking to establish an independent statutory body so that probation staff have the same professional recognition as their peers in health and education.

In conclusion, as I said at the beginning, the role of the private sector and the voluntary sector in the criminal justice system is an issue for debate. We should constantly examine and re-examine what the right role should be, but the approach from the Labour party is that this is the only issue that matters. We hear nothing from Labour about how to deal with repeat petty offenders and the role of non-custodial sentences. There is nothing about the measures to properly tackle drugs and violence; nothing about offender management in prisons; nothing about how we are recruiting additional prison officers or getting people jobs through our education and employment strategy. The only thing we ever hear is nationalise, nationalise, nationalise. As Sadiq Khan, one of the predecessors of the hon. Member for Leeds East, said in 2011, defending the Labour Government’s use of private sector prisons,

“our policy was and is based on what works, rather than dogma.”—[Official Report, 31 March 2011;
Vol. 526, c. 527.]

That is as it should be. On this side of the House, we will always work to put the public first in reducing reoffending, protecting the public and building a stronger justice system.