Statement on Probation Reforms

New partnerships with charities must be at heart of government plans to renationalise probation.

Statement from Women in Prison’s Chief Executive Kate Paradine:

From the very beginning, the government’s reforms to probation have been a complete disaster. They have wreaked havoc on people’s lives, causing a huge amount of unnecessary harm and trauma to people caught up in the criminal justice system and their families.

Under the privatisation of the probation service, prisons have been driven deeper into crisis, race discrimination means individuals from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are disproportionately affected and the counterproductive ‘revolving door’ of short prison sentences continues. The failure to implement the Covid-19 early release scheme and the continued release of women into homelessness and destitution has confirmed how broken this system is.

We know most people need a warm, safe place to live, money to pay their bills and access to mental health care and substance misuse support. Community support services like women’s centres play a key role in providing this, giving care and support to people who are left out of our current system. Instead, probation reforms have meant people using the service are set up to fail as they are forced to meet unachievable conditions with limited support.

Charities working in the criminal justice system, many of whom predicted the failure of these reforms, have found themselves excluded, silenced and ignored. Lessons must be learned from this chaotic experiment and the government needs to build a new relationship with the charities that have been left to pick up the pieces of a shattered system.

Now we are presented with an opportunity where those in power can choose to get this right. In the same way that the government decided to reform and privatise, they can decide to invest in our communities and build a fairer, more just system based on care, support and hope.


Laura Hill 07971 755586