To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of (a) the initial cost of implementing the Short Sentence Function across all Probation Service Regions in England and Wales, and (b) the additional annual running cost for HMPPS resulting from Short Sentence Function implementation.
Following the unification of the Probation Service on 26 June 2021, short sentence functions will be established in all Probation Service regions to provide a responsive, multi-agency approach for all people in prison serving short prison sentences.
The short sentence function was implemented in Wales in August 2020 as an early adopter region. The remaining Probation Regions have started the planning process to introduce within all Probation Service Regions over the next 12 months.
We have begun evaluating the Short Term Sentence Team model in Wales since it went live in August 2020 and will be evaluating 2 further early adopter regions in Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West. This research will primarily focus on process evaluation but we will monitor recall rates and reoffending in order to assess the longer-term impact, aiming to publish interim process evaluation findings and then the final report including findings on impact by summer 2023.
At this stage, we are piloting these teams within existing resource by reorganising current probation resource in the community, so that we can focus efforts on this cohort and grow expertise within teams.
In the longer-term, as part of our annual £155m investment in probation in 2019-20 and in this year, recruitment of additional probation practitioners means that we expect resource in resettlement and in community sentence management teams to increase, and this would include the resource focused on this group of offenders.