JUSTICE Secretary Chris Grayling visited Hampshire Probation Trust at its’ new HQ in Andover Road, Winchester.

Mr Grayling met staff and senior managers following the publication last week of the Transforming Rehabilitation consultation paper which describes the Government’s proposals for reforming non-custodial sentences.

He was joined last Thursday by Winchester & Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine, a member of the House of Commons Justice Select Committee.

Mr Brine said: “It was really good to have Chris Grayling here especially as this is the first probation trust he has visited since the new proposals were released earlier this month.

"Of course no organisation welcomes what will be quite significant change with open arms but I hope Hampshire Probation staff and the senior management team found it useful to talk directly with the secretary of state and to ask questions about what we are putting forward.

“These proposals will, for the first time, ensure offender management on leaving custody is extended to those who have served under 12 months, where re-offending is rigidly stuck at just over 50 per cent, and that is very welcome.  What’s clear to me is the status quo is not an option because we simply cannot afford, financially or socially, to go on as we are.”

The direct management of offenders who pose the highest risk of serious harm – often known as MAPPA or multi-agency offenders – will remain wholly within the public sector.

Mr Grayling said: "The government wants to transform the way we deliver rehabilitation, so that offenders get a mentor on release from prison, to help them turn their backs on crime. We are keen to work with professionals in probation, who have considerable expertise and experience, and I am pleased to visit Hampshire to see the work that the probation service has been doing here, as well as to have an open and constructive discussion about our plans for change."