Alan Downey, head of public sector at KPMG, comments on plans to close prisons and allow the private sector to supervise low-risk offenders on probation in England and Wales. He says:
“The Justice Secretary’s proposals to increase prison spaces and improve offender management have met with some disapproving noises.
“Yet before the criticism becomes too loud, it is important to remember the one point many people accept – namely that the current system isn’t working. Rates of re-offending are dangerously and persistently high. When someone finishes a prison or community sentence, the chances are great that they will offend again. It’s bad for the victims of crime, bad for the criminals themselves and bad for the taxpayer, who has to foot the bill. We need the space to support the courts and we need a new approach to fix a situation that is failing society.
“One of the key proposals - overlooked amid the concerns about outsourcing to the private sector - is that for the first time prisoners serving short-term sentences will be supported and supervised on release. Given that re-offending rates are particularly high among this group, this is a step that everyone should welcome. The consultation document is not just about privatisation, it is also about ensuring that offenders will be met at the prison gate by a mentor who will help them to find a place to live, a job, treatment for drug or alcohol dependency, and so on.
“Where support fails there will, regrettably, be a need to return some former inmates to their cells. Many of the old prisons can no longer cope with today’s needs so a new approach which meets the custodial demands of the courts should be welcomed.”
Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
020 7311 5271 (t), 07917 384 576 (m) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2012. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.