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Report considers development of devolved Probation Service in Wales

12 Feb 2024 3 minute read
Justice picture by Pixabay

A group of academics from Welsh universities, along with current and former probation officers, have published a report considering the possible development of a devolved Probation Service in Wales.

It comes after the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales recently published its report recommending the devolution of probation to Wales.

The Probation Development Group, part of the Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice (WCCSJ) which includes academics from the University of South Wales, Bangor University and Swansea University, has set out evidence and ways of working for developing a devolved probation service in Wales.

The report also includes thinking on a new independent probation service centred on the supervisory relationship between the probation officer and the probationer, better use of evidenced-based interventions, local resources, and strong partnerships.

The group also highlights the important role of the community and community sentences, to promote effective rehabilitation and victim safety.

Safer communities

The group says that probation delivered effectively can lead to less costly imprisonment, reductions in offending, and safer communities with fewer victims of crime.

Swansea University Criminology lecturer and former senior probation officer, Ella Rabaiotti, who convenes the Probation Development Group, said: “Whilst we recognise that more disruption within probation is far from ideal, we do think there needs to be to a stronger evidenced-based approach to probation work to help address the real disparities in Welsh criminal justice outcomes.

“It will be for policymakers to decide on the shape of a Welsh Probation Service in proper consultation with the appropriate stakeholders, but there is significant learning offered in our publication to potentially improve community safety and social justice for all communities in Wales.”

Justice policy

The work of the independent expert group aims to contribute to the Welsh Government’s justice policy plans, following the conclusions of the Thomas Commission which found that the current criminal justice system is not serving the people of Wales.

They say this has now been further reinforced by the new report from the Independent Commission.

The group’s views follow concerns by the outgoing Chief Inspector of Probation, Justin Russell who stated that probation standards have ‘worsened’ in the last two years. And the latest findings from the Wales Governance Centre state that the Welsh imprisonment rate continues to exceed any other part of the UK.

More information about the work of the Probation Development Group and the Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice can be found here.

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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
3 months ago

Until it happens I won’t believe it. Probation like Policing & Criminal Justice go hand-in-hand with one another. I simply don’t trust Keir Starmer & Labour on anything. Their promises and pledges to Wales mean nothing if written on toilet paper.

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
3 months ago

With very few exceptions House of Commons MPs have a profound English colonialist mentality towards Wales. As far as giving Wales anything that enhances Welsh national identity, they always give either nothing or as little as possible as late as possible. We can therefore confidently expect that the reports of the Group of Academics and the Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales will be ignored.  The most rational and sensible course of action would be to standardize devolution across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but this is anathema to most MPs. 

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