Sarah fights for Rotherham probation service


Sarah has recently warned Parliament of the dire consequences of privatising the probation service. Using the Commons debate on the Offender Rehabilitation Bill Sarah took the opportunity to speak out against the Tory-led attack on the probation service, which would see 70% of probation work outsourced to private companies.

Probation is currently overseen by Probation Trusts who employ trained experts in offender rehabilitation, however, under radical Tory plans; all but the highest risk offenders would be outsourced to private companies.

The moves offer the potential for bidding companies to drive down standards at the expense of profit, and put public safety at risk. Privatisation also risks the jobs of Rotherham's committed and trained probation officers.

Sarah praised the work of South Yorkshire Probation Trust when arguing that privatisation was not necessary and in her speech quoted statistics published by the Ministry of Justice which show that the probation service has reduced reoffending by a further 5% below the target figure.

The Rotherham MP has been involved in fighting privatisation of the probation service for many months now as part of the Bill scrutiny Committee for the Offender Rehabilitation Bill and has spoken previously in the Commons against these plans. She comments: The work of the probation service is vital in keeping re-offending rates down and ensuring community safety.

In Rotherham, we have a strong team of highly skilled probation workers and I am really anxious about the implications for them. South Yorkshire Probation Trust is best placed to provide this rehabilitation and I will continue to defend their cause.

The chairs of the probation trusts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire have written to the Minister to warn him of the dire consequences of rushing this reform through and those experts say that the fragmentation proposed by this Government would lead to more systemic risks and more preventable serious attacks and deaths and that the current timetable was unrealistic and unreasonable...with serious implications for service delivery and therefore increases the risk to public".

NewsVanessa Johns