The government fired the starting gun today on making key reforms to the way ex-offenders are looked after in the community, in an effort to tackle stubbornly high reoffending rates in England and Wales.
Today, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will sign new contracts with a host of charities, private companies and public organisations who will be brought in to manage offenders post-prison.
The successful organisations make up a diverse mix of providers that bring a wealth of experience including supporting people off drugs and alcohol, finding them secure homes and helping them into work.
These new providers will support around 45,000 offenders released from sentences of less than 12 months each year. This group currently get no statutory post-prison support and almost 60% of them go back to crime within a year.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:
We finally have in these reforms the opportunity to break the depressing cycle of crime, prison and re-offence that so many individuals are stuck in.
Every year tens of thousands of offenders are released from prison with £46 in their pocket, get no support and are left to walk the streets. The majority reoffend quickly – and they commit thousands of crimes. That will now change, with proper support and mentoring for every offender who leaves prison, with a real focus on helping them turn their lives around.
We will pay the organisations that deliver this support by what works – and between them they have the skills and experience to deliver what does. Some of our most successful rehabilitation charities will now have the chance to use their skills to rehabilitate thousands of offenders who up to now have just been left to fall through the cracks.
The successful bidders are made up of a diverse range of public, private and voluntary organisations. Nineteen of the 21 contract areas will be led by new partnerships and joint ventures between private sector firms and some of Britain’s biggest and most successful rehabilitation charities, and six will be run with the involvement of a probation staff “mutual”. In addition, around 75% of the 300 subcontractors named in the successful bids are voluntary sector or mutual organisations, putting them at the frontline of offender rehabilitation.
There was strong competition for each of the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs), with bids showing real innovation. This includes proposals for far greater use of new technologies, both to enable frontline staff to work more efficiently and to enhance offender supervision. A wide range of models for mentoring prisoners on release were also put forward, along with extensive new rehabilitation activities, and more targeted services for specific offender groups such as women or those with mental health problems. Contracts have been split across 20 regions for England and one for Wales, and the successful bidders will be responsible for supervising and rehabilitating an estimated 200,000 low and medium risk offenders.
Almost 1,000 organisations, including 700 listed as VCSE (voluntary, community or social enterprise) have put themselves forward to work with the chosen providers to develop new ways of reducing reoffending and protecting the public.
Providers will only be paid in full if they are successful at reducing reoffending, helping drive innovation and getting best value for taxpayers.
Along with extending community supervision to all offenders, a nationwide network of resettlement prisons is also being created that will see offenders managed by the same provider from custody into the community, ensuring a proper through-the-gate approach to rehabilitation.
Under this system, the new Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) will be required to draw up a plan for an offender’s rehabilitation within the first few days of them entering prison. The same organisation will then continue to support that individual throughout their time in prison, and this will continue as they are released into the community. The focus of the CRCs will be as much on helping ex-offenders sort their lives out as on traditional supervision.
They will also work hand in hand with the public sector National Probation Service, which is tasked with protecting the public from high risk offenders.
Notes to editors:
- List of the new owners for each CRC.
- The transfer of ownership of all the CRCs will take place on 1 February 2015.
- For further details on our Transforming Rehabilitation reforms.
- For further information on our ongoing competition process.
- For further information please contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536 @MoJPress.