John attacks plans for private companies to supervise criminals

DEARNE MP John Healey has slammed “reckless” plans to privatise most of the probation service.

Speaking in a debate in the House of Commons yesterday, he called on the Government to back probation trusts that are already doing a tough job well and have offered to take on extra work for free.

He’s also written to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, urging him to drop his plans which would see 70 per cent of offenders supervised by private companies like G4S and Serco from next year.

Under the Government’s proposals, nearly 5,000 criminals in South Yorkshire – including serious sexual and violent offenders – would be supervised by private companies after leaving prison.

In the letter, Mr Healey said splitting the probation service would mean “extra bureaucracy, extra cost and extra risk.”

He said it would create a “skewed approach to rehabilitation” with private companies encouraged to cherry-pick those least likely to re-offend and ignore those most in need of rehabilitation, who pose the highest risk to the public.

The MP added: “Without proper knowledge of the impact that changes like this might have on the future of probation services the move is reckless and irresponsible.

“Privatising the probation service is untried and untested and will put the public at risk.”

He said South Yorkshire Probation Trust is among the best-performing trusts in the country. It is one of just five rated ‘exceptional’ and has a long-standing record for reducing reoffending several times higher than the national average.