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Nacro has published its response to the government’s consultation on the future of probation services. Nacro has expressed concern with the undue emphasis on the relationship between public, private sector and charity providers, and called for a renewed focus on what works to reduce reoffending.

Speaking about the consultation, Paul McDowell, Nacro’s chief executive, said:

‘We’re too often caught up in ancient and unhelpful debates about public versus private when in reality we need to be focusing on what cuts crime. The real imperative for government is to identify the services and resources which can best be used to tackle the UK’s chronic reoffending rates.

‘More than a third of offenders in the criminal justice system have 15 or more criminal convictions. This is the only statistic you need in order to know that the current system is failing. It’s failing the victims of crime, it’s failing to stop reoffending, and it’s failing to provide real value for money to taxpayers. Ending the cycle of criminality is not a simple process and doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right approach we can make a significant impact on this persistent problem.

‘In our response we’ve called on the government to use the unique strength of the voluntary sector: its capacity to reach the hardest to help and to help the hardest to reach. The charity sector’s experience of working with offenders, families and communities on the ground means organisations like Nacro are uniquely placed to combat attrition, narrow the gap between the offender and the community, and find innovative and cost-effective solutions to society’s problems. All of these features are crucial to reducing reoffending and building public confidence in the system.

‘I hope the government is willing to take our recommendations on board so we can make a real difference to the future success rates of criminal justice services in the UK.’

You can read a full version of Nacro’s consultation response here.