Key Links



Death Penalty


Justice System





Practitioner Links

Domestic Violence

Mental Disorder

Restorative Justice

Sex Offenders

Substance Misuse



News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

Napo, the Probation union, has warned today that planned cuts of up to 25% to the Probation Service budget, including programmes, will lead to an increase in crime and the creation of more victims. 

The Probation Service in England and Wales has been successfully running group work programmes for offenders for over 20 years. The programmes were formalised in 2003 and became available to the courts as a condition of supervision.

Last year over 40,000 individuals completed programmes focussing on drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, thinking skills and behaviour, and sexual offending. The majority of those sentenced to programmes are prolific offenders and were at risk of custody. The number of completions will fall by up to a quarter when the cuts go ahead

Under the planned cuts by the Coalition government many programmes will be cut and withdrawn because of their cost and a huge reduction in experienced staff through redundancy. 

The Ministry of Justice announced on 9 August that the overall budget of the Ministry would be reduced by 25%, or from £9 billion to £7 billion, by March 2012.  All departments in the Ministry are likely to be affected. 

The only way the cuts can be achieved in the Probation Service is by reducing staffing levels drastically. The cost of supervising an individual in the community without conditions is between £3,000 and £4,000, but that rises to from £7,000 to £8,000 if there is participation in programmes. This compares to at least £42,000 per annum for a prison place. 

Research shows that programmes are very effective in reducing reoffending.  The latest statistics suggest that 66% of those jailed reoffend on release compared to 50% on a supervision order. However, those figures fall to 58% and 34% respectively if the individual participates in a programme.

Under the cuts, Probation Trusts will be forced to reduce the number of programmes available. Many areas will only be able to offer a reduced service for sex offenders and those involved in domestic violence. Other areas will be rationing domestic violence programmes to men who pose an imminent risk, however available research shows that if men’s violence toward partners is not dealt with by early intervention it may escalate.

Any curtailment of sex offender programmes will clearly affect the protection of women and children. There is bound to be a reduction of the availability of drug and alcohol treatment because of the cuts.

Napo has analysed the provision of programmes in 21 of the 42 Probation Areas that existed in 2009-10.  The areas were subsequently turned into Trusts and the number reduced to 35.  Most areas ran courses which had 80% to 90% completion rates and achieved significant reductions in the level of reoffending.

In a briefing Napo has produced over 90 examples of individuals successfully completing courses, particularly domestic violence, sex offending and general behaviour programmes, which show that attitudes have changed and offending rates significantly reduced.

Harry Fletcher, Assistant General Secretary of Napo, commented:

“Probation programmes are an effective way of preventing reoffending. Thousands of crimes are stopped by participation. Programme users tend to be prolific offenders. However the gains of the last decade risk being jeopardised because of draconian cuts. The Probation Service will not be able to maintain the same level of service. The number of successful completion of programmes could fall from forty to thirty thousand by 2012. This will increase reoffending rates and create more victims, particularly of domestic violence. It is ironic that if the programmes are not available, prison will certainly be used by sentencers as an alternative.”