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HMIP report on post-release supervision by community rehabilitation companies

Thematic inspection of post-sentence supervision

29 May 2019
HMIP report on post-release supervision by community rehabilitation companies

HMI Probation has published their thematic inspection of post-sentence supervision (PSS) for prisoner's sentenced to under 12 month's imprisonment. It highlighted a lack of support for prisoners under PSS, which prevents positive rehabilitation. It also found alarming statistics showing pre-sentence reports (PSRs) were ordered in less than one in four cases where a short prison sentence was given.

The report found that the majority of offenders on PSS have multiple, complex needs and a significant proportion have a history of repeat offending, indicating that support for this group could have a real impact on reducing the use of short prison sentences, which is a stated aim of the Ministry of Justice. However, the current arrangements are not working, as there has been no tangible reduction in re-offending since the introduction of PSS. Problems identified with resettlement on release from prison included people being released with no stable accommodation in place, difficulties accessing universal credit quickly enough and offenders with substance abuse problems not being offered access to services. In addition, the report raised concerns that public safety assessments were not being carried out sufficiently, even where the individual had a history of domestic abuse.

The data from the magistrate survey showed that magistrates did not have confidence in the service provision for people on PSS. It also indicated a disparity between the number of cases magistrates reported ordering PSRs for, and the actual number of PSRs ordered. This indicates a potential issue of magistrates getting information from probation staff which is not being recorded as a PSR.

MA National Chair John Bache responded to the report:

'We welcome this important report from HM Inspectorate of Probation, which comes at a crucial time for the development of probation services in England and Wales. We share the report's concerns about post-sentence supervision, and in particular its one size fits all approach and inflexibility, and would like to see steps taken to address this.

'We are concerned to see that pre-sentence reports are being ordered in less than one in four cases where a short prison sentence is given. Magistrates must gather as much relevant information as possible before making a sentencing decision and we will work with our members to explore why pre-sentence reports are not being ordered in these cases and what needs to be done to ensure that magistrates have access to all the information they need to make appropriate sentencing decisions.'

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