Rehabilitation of prisoners is one of the most important roles of our criminal justice system. But this important job was completely wrecked when the UK Government part-privatised rehabilitation companies. We are now footing a bill worth millions to unpick the damage done by the former Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, and the Government is scrabbling for ways to improve rehabilitation.
I pressed the Secretary of State on how the Government would turn around this disgraceful service and ensure that the privatised Community Rehabilitation Companies are either brought back into government control or fixed for a better deal for the taxpayers.
All good policy is based in evidence. Privatising rehabilitation services was based in ideological fervor. At the time I, and the Labour Party, kept telling the UK Government that splitting rehabilitation into a privatised industry which handled ‘low level cases’ and a public which dealt with ‘high risk cases’ was for the birds.
The Justice Committee has been investigating this matter and today I noticed that we had been discussing CRCs for some time and no one had mentioned the role of the Ministry of Justice. What we were told was shocking. There seemed to be no in depth oversight of these private companies and no strategy from the MoJ to ensure that people leaving our criminal justice system could return to society reformed.
To add insult to injury, recently the MoJ pumped money into this failing system as many of these privatised companies said they could no longer operate the service the pledged when bidding for the contract.
During Justice Questions, yesterday, I asked the new Prisons Minister what the Government is doing to ensure that Prison Governors are judged on their ability to rehabilitate prisoners on short-term sentences and placing them into employment.
I believe it is vitally important that we can rehabilitate our short-term prison population. These are usually people who are serving sentences under 9 months in length. Ensuring that they have the skills needed to gain employment makes sure that their chances or re-offending are dramatically reduced as they have a stable and legitimate income. Moreover, it helps ex-offenders reintegrate with society. Having a job means that you become part of a community. Therefore you have a vested interest that that community thrives, something that crime or criminal activity runs counter to. Read more “Justice Questions: Prison Rehabilitation”