What is preventing fair and effective probation and resettlement?
Probation officers can play a key role in supporting people to lead crime-free lives, helping people serving community sentences and those on license after a custodial sentence to access housing, employment and support services.
However, probation officers have faced very high caseloads in recent years, limiting their ability to support individuals in a meaningful way. The probation service was part-privatised in sweeping and ultimately unsuccessful reforms in 2014. The CJA and members raised significant concerns about these reforms. From June 2021, management of low and medium risk individuals will return to a reunified National Probation Service.
The voluntary sector, including many CJA members, work tirelessly to help people leaving prison resettle in the community. However, greater statutory support for prison leavers — such as a larger discharge grant, suitable housing, mobile phones and clothing — could improve outcomes and cut reoffending.
We set out how probation can be strengthened, including by employing more people with lived experience. We are also working with Porticus UK and a number of other partners as part of the Positive Pathways from Prison Project, calling for more support to help people gain employment and build family ties after release.