Justice secretary supports Cameron in new efforts to tackle re-offending

The UK justice secretary, Chris Grayling has defended David Cameron’s plan to outsource much of the probation service to private companies, such as G4S and A4e, as well as charities and voluntary groups.

Reoffending rates have reached record levels in recent times, and Cameron is now arguing that offenders are in dire need of mentoring and support after release, to show that there is a “better place to be” than in prison. In his first speech on crime since becoming prime minister, he has set out plans for a “tough but intelligent” criminal justice policy which will see almost all offenders offered rehabilitation by the end of 2015. He added that former inmates or gang members could be employed to persuade prisoners leaving prison that there were alternatives to crime.

Grayling agreed with the prime minister, and with the idea that such a system could be run in a similar way to the new welfare-to-work schemes organised by private companies. “We have to do things differently,” he said. “Prisoners coming back on to the streets after prison are as likely to reoffend as not reoffend.” Pilot schemes testing new rehabilitation programmes had shown “very encouraging results” Grayling said.

Grayling has also featured in the news this week for his criticisms of the ex-Metropolitan police chief Lord Ian Blair who has called on voters to boycott the November elections for police and crime commissioners. Grayling called Blair’s comments “silly” and defended the elections saying that Parliament had introduced the posts in order to encourage the public to engage with anti-crime policy in their areas.

Sources include: The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Independent

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