Grayling has failed again... over probation
THE number of crimes committed by those who reoffend has surged by a fifth under a probation scheme costing billions that was meant to tackle the problem, a scathing report reveals today.
The Transforming Rehabilitation programme was the brainchild of then justice secretary Chris Grayling, who has been nicknamed Failing Grayling after a series of blunders during his time in the Cabinet.
Brought in across the country in 2015, it created a public- sector National Probation Service (NPS) for high-risk offenders alongside 21 private community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) to deal with other criminals. But a report by the Commons public accounts committee said the scheme has left the probation system in ‘a worse position’ than before its introduction.
The number of crimes committed by those who reoffend increased by 22 per cent between 2011 and 2017 even though the point of the programme was to reduce reoffending.
And the number going back to prison rose by 47 per cent between 2015 and 2018 when the scheme was meant to reduce pressures on jails.
The reforms have been deemed such a disaster that the contracts with the private companies are being terminated 14 months early, in December next year.
That will cost taxpayers £467million, on top of the cost of launching the scheme. The Ministry of Justice originally expected to spend £3.7billion on CRC contracts, but a spokesman said yesterday that it now expects the total to be £2.3billion.
Meg Hillier, chairman of the committee, said: ‘The ministry has failed to bring about the promised revolution in rehabilitation. Its attempts to address the failures in the reforms have cost the taxpayer an additional £467million while failing to achieve the anticipated improvements in reoffending behaviour.’
The ministry is considering replacing the system with ten probation regions in England, each containing a division of the NPS and one CRC.
Mr Grayling, who is now Transport Secretary, came under fire after rail passengers endured cancellations and delays last year as a result of a series of timetabling shambles.
Yesterday, he faced new accusations of incompetence after it emerged that bungled contracts for ferries in the event of a No Deal Brexit have cost at least £83million.
The Ministry of Justice said: ‘Our reforms mean 40,000 more offenders are being supervised, but the current model is not working. We have already acted decisively to end current contracts early [and] make changes to existing arrangements.’