Responding to Chris Grayling’s speech yesterday, Nacro’s chief executive Paul McDowell has called for a renewed focus on the positive role the voluntary sector can play in delivering effective outcomes in crime reduction. He said:
‘We welcome the prospect of opening up the market for probation services so that alternative providers are given the chance to improve the quality and value of what is currently delivered. However it’s imperative that ministers ensure that the PBR market is designed in a way that focuses on a necessary balance between value for money and effectiveness. The incentive must be on delivering effective criminal justice services that improve outcomes, such as reducing reoffending and protecting the public. It’s these outcomes that will achieve the most significant savings over the long term.
‘Yesterday’s speech once again raises the important issue of community sentences. Community sentences have a vital role to play – they are often an effective way to tackle the root causes of criminal behaviour and are consequently more effective at reducing reoffending than short term prison sentences. Current rates of reoffending, particularly for those given short term sentences are simply far too high - it’s time to wake up and realise that without achieving a change in behaviour, a short spell in prison is a waste of time and precious resources. By investing in effective community sentences, there’s a clear opportunity to address this.
‘I hope the government will use the knowledge, experience and capacity of the voluntary sector to start to make progress in reducing reoffending and building public confidence in a system that works.’