Sadiq Khan MP, Labour's Shadow Justice Secretary, responding to the Written Ministerial Statement on the prison and probation services today said:
“The Tory-led Government are rushing to fill the black hole left in the MoJ budget by their shambolic sentencing plans. They are trying to do this by cutting the already over-stretched prison and probation services.
“Experienced and professional prison and probation officers are essential to the effective functioning of the prison estate and the punishment and reform of offenders. They are not being treated with the respect they deserve from this Government who seem intent on undermining their work with cuts to the criminal justice system that go too far and too fast."
On putting probation services up for competition:
"The potential for core probation services, which are vital for the protection of the public and rehabilitation of offenders, to be privatised will cause huge uncertainty and anxiety amongst professional probation officers. The government should make assurances that we won’t see further job losses and the quality of the service Probation Trusts provide won’t be damaged by their decision.
On the privatisation of a further eight prisons:
“It is not clear why these eight additional prisons have been selected for potential takeover by the private sector, what criteria was used and its impact on those working within the prison system.
“The government needs to make it clear the that all possible support will go to the prison officers and other prison staff during any transition period and come clean about whether this will mean further job losses.
On the closure of HMP Latchmere House and HMP Brockhill:
“This Government seem to be happy to let the prison estate dilapidate whatever the cost to proper functioning of the penal system and its ability to punish and reform offenders as well as keeping the public safe.
“With the Tory-led Government cutting too far, too fast it is not clear whether other prisons have the capacity to deal with the displaced prisoners from HMPs Latchmere House and Brockhill.”