Government plans for ex-prisoners aim to end crime 'merry-go-round'

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Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has outlined new policy plans aimed at lowering reoffending rates by ensuring prisoners were properly managed when they leave jail by "creating continuity between custody and community".

Mr Grayling told MPs on 9 May 2013, that all offenders who enter prison, even for just a few days, would be subject to new supervision and would be given support through housing, employment, training and substance abuse programmes.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that while 46.9 % of all adult prisoners commit a further offence within a year of release, the reoffending rate is significantly higher - 58.2% - for those sentenced to less than a year.

Mr Grayling described the figures as a "depressing merry-go-round of crime" which had "a dreadful impact on the lives of law-abiding, hard-working people".

Shadow justice secretary Andy Slaughter said the plans amounted to "professional probation officers [being] sacked and replaced by ex-offenders" and asked Mr Grayling if this was his "brave new world".

Mr Slaughter said the government plans were "ambitious" but the programme was based on "fewer resources, untried and untested methods, and putting faith in exactly those private sector organisations that have failed to deliver other major public sector contracts".

Supervisors would be paid according to how well they prevented reoffending in inmates' first year after release.

It would mean supervision for 50,000 prisoners sentenced to less than a year and extra monitoring for 15,000 who are given prison terms of 12 months to two years, in England and Wales.

This would be the first time the government would spend money on people who go to jail for less than 12 months.

But senior probation officers have attacked plans to offer private companies and charities payment-by-results for offender supervision.

Responding to Mr Slaughter the Justice Secretary said the coalition did not believe all problems would be solved by "throwing money" at them and government wanted "better value for the taxes we already raise".

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