Russell Webster - Work with Offenders
Work with offenders digs into the detail of a pandemic-affected year
Yesterday Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2020 to 2021 which outlines how the agency performed in the year ending 31 March 2021. Inevitably, that performance was profoundly shaped by COVID with both the prison and probation service operating severely restricted models in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. To save you reading all 170 pages of this report, we have picked out 10 facts that we hope will be of interest.
1: HMPPS spent £4.6bn last year
This was split on a 70:30 ratio in favour of prisons and you can see the details in the graphic below.
2: The four principles
HMPPS’ vision has four principles:
3: The first secure school
The report confirms that the first secure school will finally open next year, although it steers clear of any indication of when during 2022 this will happen. The school will be on the site of the now defunct (and disgraced) Secure Training Centre at Medway and will be run by the Oasis Charitable Trust.
4: The prison estate
There are currently a total of 117 prisons, 104 in the public and 13 in the private sectors. This figure is likely to change over coming years with the government embarked on a big prison building programme.
5: Probation hostels
There are exactly 100 approved premises.
6: Probation performance positives
The proportion of community and suspended sentence orders successfully completed went up for both those supervised by the National Probation Service from 77.1% in 2019/20 to 80.9% this year and for those supervised by the CRCs from 78.2% to 86%. I don’t think it’s unduly cynical to think that the fact that most people were being supervised by telephone is a contributory factor here.
7: Probation performance negatives
Conversely and, again, almost definitely mainly attributable to the restricted service operated under the pandemic, completion rates for unpaid work fell severely from 90.5% to 59.2% with accredited programme completions plummeting from 84.5% to 34.5%.
8: Youth justice specialists
In 2018, HMPPS introduced the youth justice specialist role and provided funding for every prison officer in the youth secure estate to have the opportunity to obtain a foundation degree in youth justice. By March 2021, the Youth Custody Service had 201 qualified officers already in post, with an additional 227 staff signed up or undertaking learning. A further 100 staff commenced learning in June 2021 with a further cohort to start in October 2022.
9: Recruiting more probation officers
HMPPS increased recruitment in 2020/21 from 600 to 1,000 probation officer trainees and have committed to increasing that further by recruiting 1,500 new probation officer trainees for 2021/22.
10: Probation voluntary and community sector fund
Each of the 12 Regional Probation Directors has been allocated £100,000 to support the work of specialist voluntary sector organisations working with ethnic minority people on probation.