BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Interviews 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 7 August, 2000, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Prison and probation shake-up planned
Inside prison
The proposals aim to cut down repeat offending
A shake-up of the prison and probation watchdogs to prevent more criminals re-offending has been proposed.

Under the Home Office plan, the roles of the Chief Inspector of Prisons and Chief Inspector of Probation could be merged.

The proposal, which has long been rumoured, follows a series of clashes between Sir David Ramsbotham, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, and other Whitehall officials.

Sir David, who is stepping down next year after producing some scathing reports on UK jails, has previously questioned the proposals.

He supported the idea in principle but said it was too soon and a rigorous and independent inspection service for prisons had to be maintained.

'Seamless sentences'

Officials said merging the posts could help deliver "seamless sentences". Prison courses which help criminals look at and change their behaviour would be complemented and built on by those they undertake while on probation.

The government consultation paper said: "Such an appointment would provide an overall strategic direction for the inspection of both services and strong oversight to ensure they were working in a co-ordinated way.

"The public has a right to expect that we do in fact have a coherent system either side of the prison gates which works to reduce re-offending."

But the National Association of Probation Officers said the combined post would go against progress being made with the creation of a new, national probation service and would mean extra funding.

Spokesman Harry Fletcher said: "Probation has an annual budget of 450m compared with 2bn for prisons and we feel the identity of the probation inspectorate could be lost - swamped if you like."

Home Office figures show the prison population has increased by 25,000 over the last 10 years to its present level of 65,000.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

10 Jan 00 | UK Politics
Prison suicides 'hit record level'
16 May 00 | UK
Repeat offenders face jail
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories