Transforming rehabilitation is a reform programme that’s changing the way offenders are managed in the community. The programme aims to bring down reoffending rates while continuing to protect the public.
Our reforms will:
- open up the market to a diverse range of rehabilitation providers from the private, voluntary and social sectors (including potential mutuals) through 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs)
- incentivise innovation, paying providers by results for delivering reductions in reoffending
- extend statutory rehabilitation to 45,000 short sentenced offenders released from prison every year, who have the highest reoffending rates and yet currently receive no supervision after release
- reorganise our prisons to resettle offenders ‘through the gate’, with continuous support from custody to community. This will mean the majority of prisoners will be moved to a resettlement prison close to their community at least 3 months before release
- create a new public sector National Probation Service (NPS), to manage high risk offenders
The NPS and CRCs will work with each other and their partners to reduce reoffending. The NPS and CRCs will also work with a wide range of partners to deliver services, reduce reoffending and protect the public. The statutory partnerships and responsibilities paper outlines the duties of the NPS and CRCs in relation to partnership working.
The Secretary of State for Justice confirmed on 18 December 2014 that he will be signing contracts with the new owners for the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). This announcement marks another significant step towards completing the government’s probation reforms.
Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 commencement
The remaining uncommenced provisions of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 (ORA) came into force on 1 February 2015. This marks another significant step in implementing the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms which will reduce the stubbornly high rate of reoffending which has been far too high for far too long.
At the heart of the reforms is the extension of supervision to an extra 45,000 offenders a year who are released from short prison sentences of less than 12 months in custody. Most of this group currently receive no statutory supervision after completing a custodial sentence.
These offenders have the highest reoffending rates of any group. Almost 60% of adult offenders released from short prison sentences in the year to March 2013 went on to reoffend within the next 12 months: a total of 16,719 re-offenders committing 85,047 further offences. The National Audit Office has estimated that the total cost to the economy of crime committed by recent ex-prisoners was between £9.5 billion and £13 billion. Of this, the cost of crime committed by offenders released from short prison sentences accounted for around £7 billion and £10 billion a year.
The changes the ORA makes mean that any offender whose offence was committed on or after 1 February, and who is sentenced to a custodial term of more than 1 day, will in the future receive at least 12 months of supervision after release. As a result, from 1 February, there will be a gradual build up of eligible offenders being supervised.
The ORA also makes a number of changes to the sentencing and release framework set out in the Criminal Justice Act 2003, including expanded drug testing powers for offenders released from custody and the creation of a new rehabilitation activity requirement that can be imposed on offenders serving sentences in the community.
On 1 February 2015, along with the provisions of the ORA coming in to force, new providers also took ownership of, and began running, the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC) which manage low and medium risk offenders.
Community Rehabilitation Companies
The 21 CRCs are responsible for:
- delivering a resettlement service for all offenders released from custody (engaging with many of the offenders they will manage before release)
- managing the majority of offenders in the community (most low to medium risk offenders), which includes identifying any changes in risk, and referring the case to the NPS if risk may have escalated to high
- designing and delivering an innovative new service to rehabilitate offenders and help them turn their lives around
- delivering a range of specific interventions and services for offenders managed by either CRCs or the NPS, including community payback and most accredited programmes
- managing senior attendance centres
We’ve published draft contract documentation for the CRCs.
Progress on test gate 4 actions and test gate 5 report
As part of the phased roll out of these reforms, the programme team completed a number of test gates to provide assurance on the operational readiness of probation organisations at key stages of the reforms.
We’ve concluded test gate 5 and published the results of the report. The document also contains key findings from test gate 4 and a summary of actions we’ve taken since then to ensure we remain on track for service transition.