New prisoner rehabilitation plan unworkable, says Labour peer Baroness Corston

 

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's plans to use payment-by-results to boost prisoner rehabilitation won't work because the success of such programmes is so difficult to monitor, according to the peer once tasked with overhauling Britain's prison system.

Baroness Corston, pictured, has accused the coalition of making "hugely retrograde steps" in its criminal justice policies, including its proposals for the privatisation of prisoner reform.

Earlier this week Mr Grayling called for "a revolution in rehabilitation… built around the principle of payment by results". Under the plans, each prisoner would have a mentor to help them with finding housing and training opportunities at the point of release, these groups would then be paid for their efforts if the person did not reoffend.

But five years after the publication of Lady Corston's extensive investigation into the Criminal Justice System, the Labour peer told i: "[The Government] talks of payment by results but that doesn't mean anything. I feel in a way they've gone backwards."

Her report for the Home Office in 2007 proposed that rehabilitation was co-ordinated by a single, accountable body at the top of the prison system.

A more-the-merrier policy, with a mix of companies invited to get involved in mentoring and payment by result, is in direct conflict with her recommendations, she said. The peer questioned how the performance of the schemes would be monitored, especially if ex-prisoners re-offended months or years after "success" payments had been made.

"When I heard the Prime Minister's plans I thought to myself this is someone who has clearly never been Justice Minister or looked into it at all," Lady Corston said.

The outspoken former chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party is concerned that the proposals, along with calls for harsher sentencing, are a signal that policy is slipping "back to square one."

After talking to prisoners, staff, and a number of expert groups, Lady Corston's findings were published in 2007 and culminated in the formation of The Corston Independent Funders' Coalition – a lobby group of 21 charitable trusts, foundations and individuals working to sustain a shift from imprisonment to community sentencing for vulnerable women offenders.

Lady Corston has also voiced her anger about recent cuts to women's centres that had been set up to help those at risk of offending from a life of crime.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003