Prisons 'revolution' starts with a holiday

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Indy Politics

An overhaul of the prison and probation system starts today amid warnings it could lead to job cuts and bureaucratic chaos.

Key elements of the reform - which the Government says is a "once in a lifetime opportunity to revolutionise the way we treat offenders" - have been delayed.

The Prison and Probation Services will be merged into the new National Offender Management Service, but no branding and logos have been agreed for the service, whose launch coincides with a Home Office "privilege day", when most staff are on leave. There are also no dates for when the merger will occur at regional and local levels. A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed the launch would take place today, but conceded some elements were being phased in "over a longer period of time". The backtracking follows hostility from unions and pressure groups, which believe that the move could open the way to greater privatisation.

* Jeremy Bamber, who is serving life for murdering five members of his family in 1985, is recovering after his throat was slit by a fellow prisoner at Full Sutton jail, York. His solicitor said he was considering action for Home Office "negligence".