Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has today launched radical proposals to strengthen community sentences and modernise the Probation Service.
The proposals in the two consultations will ensure community sentences are a tough and credible punishment, supported by the innovation, capacity and diversity of voluntary and private providers, in partnership with the Probation Service to reduce reoffending and protect the public.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said:
‘All too often community sentences are seen as an easy option, sometimes just a weekly meeting with a probation officer or a few hours of unpaid work in an entire week. This is inadequate.
‘That is why we are overhauling community sentences to ensure they are tough, credible and robust. Criminals must be punished for their crimes, they must pay back to communities and victims for their crimes and they must be reformed. If we can get criminals to return to a law abiding way of life, we stop them committing more crime against more victims.
‘That is why we are modernising the Probation Service so that we bring in more of the energy and innovation of the widest possible range of providers to bear on the battle against reoffending and crime. Good sentencing is a combination of firm punishment and effective reform of the offender.’
The community sentencing consultation also includes proposals to improve the use of fines by getting better, more accurate information about offenders’ means. This will empower offender managers to deal quicker with minor breaches and encourage greater use of restorative justice and more effective use of compensation orders, which are paid to victims of crime.
Extending the partnership between the Probation Service and the private, public and voluntary sectors, and giving Probation Trusts more control of local budgets of offender management services like electronic monitoring of curfews and joint commissioning for drug and mental health treatment, will help cut crime by driving down reoffending. This will better support the Government’s priorities for wider reform of the justice sector, including the development of payment by measured results to cut reoffending.
Read and respond to Punishment and reform: effective probation services
Read and respond to Punishment and Reform: effective community sentences