Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South Bridget Phillipson has asked the Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling to come clean about the risks posed by his privatisation of the probation service.
Speaking at Justice Questions on 16 December, Bridget asked the Justice Secretary what steps he was taking to reduce reoffending.
The Minister confirmed that reoffending under the Conservative-led coalition remained ‘stubbornly high’. He argued that the government’s proposed reforms to rehabilitation services, which will open up the market to new providers, would provide the solution.
Bridget pressed the Minister on this point by asking about the risk that police intelligence will not be shared with the new providers he mentioned, which would hamper efforts to tackle reoffending and jeopardise public safety as a result.
The Minister dodged the question and refused to consider the possibility of any such risk arising.
Speaking after the debate, Bridget said:
“I am concerned that the Secretary of State for Justice has not properly considered the possible risks that will arise from his proposals to privatise the probation service.
Probation works best when the service has close relationships with prisons, councils, and others.
Public safety could be at risk if police intelligence is not shared between the police and the new companies.
Chris Grayling's non-answer to my question just goes to show that he has not properly considered the full impact of these
This is yet another example of the Conservative-led government’s determination to impose ideologically motivated privatisation without thinking about the potential consequences for the public.”