Statutory services for offenders
This page outlines the changes to probation services and prisons, and the interventions they deliver for offenders, as a result of the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms.
Offender Rehabilitation Act
The Offender Rehabilitation Act (ORA) is the Act of Parliament which accompanies the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, passed in March 2014. The Bill makes changes to the sentencing and releasing framework to extend probation supervision after release to offenders serving shorter sentences. It also creates greater flexibility in the delivery of sentences served in the community.
The ORA came into full force on 1st February 2015. At the heart of the reforms is the extension of supervision to an extra 45,000 offenders a year who are released from short prison sentences of less than 12 months. This means that any person whose offence was committed on or after 1st February, and who is sentenced to a custodial term of more than 1 day, will in the future receive 12 months of supervision in the community.
• This client group has high rates of reoffending; almost 60% of adult offenders released from short sentences reoffend within the next 12 months; a total of 16,719 re-offenders committing 85,047 further offences.
• The National Audit Office has estimated the cost of crime committed by offenders released from short prison sentences accounted for around £7 billion and £10 billion a year.
You can read full details of the legislation here. Supporting documentation, including the impact assessment for the Act, is available here.
You can also read Clinks' briefing on the ORA and our blog from October 2013 on whether the TR reforms will promote desistance.
The previous individual Probation Trusts have now been reorganised into 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and a single public sector National Probation Service (NPS).
The CRCs are responsible for the provision of services for low to medium risk offenders across England and Wales. The MoJ competed contracts to deliver services through the CRCs.
• These contracts have been commissioned nationally and correspond to 21 Contract Package Areas (CPAs). This map shows the location of each CPA
• The total value of the contracts is between £5bn and £20bn over the next ten years
• This map shows the indicative contract values for each CPA
• This table shows you which organisations bid in each area (as of May 2014)
• This list shows the successful bidders and which areas they have won
• This list contains the contact details for voluntary sector organisations to engage with CRCs
The CRCs began operating on 1 June 2014, they were transferred to the winning bidders following the completion of the competition and these bidders began delivering services from 1 February 2015.
The NPS retains responsibility for the supervision of high-risk offenders, including those subject to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA); and for court reports. Where an individual case escalates from low or medium to high risk, it will become the responsibility of the NPS, which will then decide how that case is handled in future.
Each CRC will contain a small number of designated 'resettlement prisons' to facilitate a smooth transition for offenders back into the local community. It is anticipated that short-sentenced prisoners will serve most or all of their sentences in these prisons, and longer sentenced prisoners will spend a minimum of three months there prior to release. All women's prisons will be designated as resettlement prisons, and you can see the full list of 71 male resettlement prisons here.
Women offenders and other equality and minority groups
The Transforming Rehabilitation contracts for delivering CRCs encompass both male and female offenders. Under the Offender Rehabilitation Act (see above) the Secretary of State must consider the specific needs of women offenders, and identify how these are being met under the new arrangements.
NOMS have also published a Women's Custodial Estate Review, which will be relevant to the future of women's prisons; read Clinks' briefing on the Women's Custodial Estate Review here.
There is no such requirement for other groups protected under the Equality Act 2010. Read Clinks’ blog from November 2013 Will TR deliver suitable services for all? but please note this was written before the amendment of the Offender Rehabilitation Act which now requires the specific needs of women to be considered.
You can also read about Clinks’ work on The Young Review which made a range of recommendations in relation to the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation and young black and/or Muslim offenders.
Service user involvement and volunteering
When the Transforming Rehabilitation reforms were initially announced, the Government was specifically keen to introduce peer support by providing a mentor for those leaving prison having served a short sentence. Read Clinks’ blog from December 2013 on this and whether TR will enable community members and people with experience of the CJS to be involved in the planning and delivery of services.