Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, announced last week that a pioneering new organisation delivering professional expertise, and promoting skills for those working to reduce re-offending in the community, is to be set up. The new organisation, The Probation Institute, will be an independent ‘centre of excellence’ for the rehabilitation sector. The aim of the organisation is to support professional development for all those who are managing offenders in the community.
The Probation Institute
Radical Government reforms for rehabilitation will bring together the best of the public, private and voluntary sectors working together to reduce high re-offending rates that see 600,000 crimes committed each year by those who are already known to the criminal justice system.
As part of on-going changes a new National Probation Service, tasked with protecting the public from the most dangerous offenders, is additionally being set up. Twenty one Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) are being formed to supervise and rehabilitate around 225,000 low and medium risk offenders, who can be the most prolific offenders. The Probation Institute will work with these organisations and potential providers to reduce re-offending and improve standards.
Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, said:
“Re-offending has been too high for too long. Our reforms will bring a new approach to dealing with chaotic offenders who commit crimes time and again.
“We want to see organisations and mentors with the expertise and specialist skills to manage these offenders and keep the public safe, and the Probation Institute will help us ensure this happens.
“It will allow us to get the best out of the public, private and voluntary sectors in our fight against re-offending.”
A spokesperson for the Probation Chiefs Association, on behalf of the joint venture, said:
“The Probation Institute will aim to develop the probation profession and be a centre of excellence, supporting evidence-based practice and the continuing professional development of staff, so that the best outcomes are secured both in terms of public safety and reducing re-offending.
“We believe that the development of the Institute is something that needs to be led by the profession itself and we welcome the support that the Government is giving to the establishment of this important new body.”
Ministry of Justice
The organisation is to be partially funded by the Ministry of Justice who are to provide up to £90,000 towards the set-up costs for the Institute and it is aiming to be operational by March 2014. The Probation Chiefs Association and the Probation Association are also jointly contributing £60,000 to the set-up costs. Future funding will be from membership subscriptions.
Other reforms to the current probation arrangements mean for the first time every offender released from custody receives statutory supervision and rehabilitation in the community for at least 12 months.