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Probation union head condemns outsourcing

CHRIS GRAYLING’S “obsession” with privatisation has “all but destroyed the probation service,” the head of the offender rehabilitation union has said.

Ian Lawrence, general secretary of probation officers’ union Napo, told the POA conference yesterday: “We need a massive change of emphasis from this government … and ultimately a complete change in the political complexion of government to finally bring an end to the shambles of privatisation.”

Serial bungler and current Transport Secretary Mr Grayling part-privatised the service in 2014 when he was justice secretary in a move that outsourced the monitoring of lower-risk offenders.

One of the companies involved, Working Links, has recently collapsed.

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon blasted the government in Parliament earlier this week and warned against seeing the for-profit US model as an “example to follow in relation to incarceration and justice.”

Mr Burgon has asked cross-bench peer Lord Ramsbotham to review how a future Labour government could renationalise the probation sector.

In an interim report published yesterday the former chief inspector of prisons said there was “no reason why probation should not be returned to public ownership.”

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