Prisons and Probation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 14th May 2019.

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Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 3:40 pm, 14th May 2019

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, and of course I am familiar with the CRC to which he refers. It is an example of how best practice has been achieved, and it shows excellent delivery of unpaid work placements right across the region. It offers a comprehensive range of programmes and, frankly, outstanding leadership, too. He is right to talk about flexibility within a national framework.

David Hanson, as he always does, made some pertinent points about recall rates. It is right to say that the increases are a direct consequence of the fact that 40,000 more offenders are being supervised as a result of the positive “Transforming Rehabilitation” changes. It is inevitable that there will be an increase in breaches with an increase in numbers, but I take his point. It is very much part of my consideration and thinking to ensure that, as we go forward, the monitoring and enforcement of orders is as important as the imposition of those orders—in fact, more important in many respects.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend Robert Neill, the Chairman of the Justice Committee, who in his inimitable way made the important point that, from the evidence he has heard at length, a mixed-economy approach to prisons and probation is the right one. He spoke about through-the-gate support, and it is good to note that there is £6 million of funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to support people to move away from rough sleeping and into accommodation, which is clearly one of the key gateways away from reoffending.

Stephanie Peacock raised a horrifying case, and I reassure her that a serious further offence review is under way. The Government remain in favour of raising the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving, and we will look to do so as far as parliamentary time allows.