Plaid warns against probation service privatisation


Effectively funded service can make wider savings, says Party of Wales

The leader of the Party of Wales, Leanne Wood AM, has warned the UK Government against the privatisation of the probation service, calling instead for a more effectively funded service to make savings across the wider justice system. She said that probation is not appropriate for privatisation and that probation services are performing strongly. The Plaid Cymru leader said that vast sums of money could be saved by diverting money from ineffective prison programmes and called for the criminal justice system to be devolved to Wales.

Ms Wood, a former probation officer, gave her warning as probation officers union NAPO hold their annual conference in Torbay. According to the union, 60% of probation service contracts will be put out to tender in autumn 2012.

Plaid Cymru Leader, Leanne Wood AM, said:

“Probation is a vital tool in the fight against crime, providing rehabilitation for offenders who commit crimes which don’t deserve prison and put them back on the straight and narrow. The probation service is not appropriate for privatisation, whether that is through the front door or the back door. Probation Service programmes are successful, with recent projects showing a 35% cut in recorded crime, according to Ministry of Justice figures.

“The Party of Wales wants to see a properly funded probation service that gives care and attention to each individual, preventing them from carrying out crimes in future and saving us money on expensive prison spaces which cost around £40,000 per year. Vast sums could be saved by diverting money from ineffective prison programmes. Plaid Cymru would like to see criminal justice brought under Welsh control so that it can best serve the needs of the people of Wales.

“My Plaid Cymru colleagues at Westminster, under the leadership of justice spokesperson Elfyn Llwyd MP, will be fighting any UK Government plans to privatise the probation service.”