The role of the probation service

The Justice Select Committee have just published their report into the Role of the Probation Service (July, 2011).  I thought the following quotation was particularly appropriate:

‘It is unacceptable that sentencers’ hands are tied by the unavailability of certain sentencing options because of inadequate resources. This makes very clear the urgent need to focus scarce resources on the front-line and to continue to bear-down on inefficiencies and unnecessary back-room functions. The Government needs to clarify what it means by more robust community sentences, and the outcomes they are designed to achieve. Setting out clearly what community sentences are attempting to achieve, demonstrating that they are implemented effectively, and challenging a naïve confidence in the effectiveness of short custodial sentences will help gain public confidence, but calls for leadership and courage from politicians and sentencers. There is a risk that the recent public debate on sentencing policies with regard to short custodial sentences could undermine the Government’s proposed reforms.’

Eighth Report of Session 2010–12, Justice Select Committee (2011).