Offender Management Bill Introduced

{mosimage}New legislation to improve the management of offenders in prison and on probation is to be published today in the Offender Management Bill.

The Bill makes provision for new arrangements within probation, strengthens legislation on the smuggling of contraband into prison; removes inconsistencies between the legal powers of private and public sector prison staff and improves the delivery of youth justice.

The Probation Service has delivered improvements in performance over recent years, but tackling re-offending requires a broad coalition of effort.

This Bill would enable the Secretary of State to commission services from the best available provider, whether in the public, private or voluntary sectors, which will raise standards, encourage partnerships and support innovation. The focus will be on what is required to meet local needs and commissioners of services will consult widely to establish what these are.

The Bill will also strengthen the legislation on smuggling contraband into prison and there will be harsher penalties for the trafficking of serious illicit items.

The legislation also removes some of the inconsistencies between the powers of staff in public and private prisons as the latter now has a track record of delivering safe and well-functioning prisons.

There are also a number of amendments to address delivery in the youth justice sector to improve the way young people are managed in custody.

Prisons Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: “This Bill is about the delivery of services necessary to stop offenders committing further crimes.

“Probation will continue to be valued as a profession, reinforced by rigorous national standards and training. But tackling re-offending requires a broad coalition and whilst the public sector remains a key player it cannot do everything on its own.”