LETTER : Look to the Probation Service when dealing with crime

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Sir: The Home Secretary has repeatedly declared his intention to be tough on crime and criminals, reflecting what he believes the public wants. Now, in conjunction with an increasing prison population, he proposes yet further legislation which will inevitably place greater demands on the decreasing resources of the Prison Service and in the longer term place the public at risk.

In common with many others working in criminal justice, the Lord Chief Justice takes the view that the detection of the criminal is the most effective deterrent. Research repeatedly shows that imprisonment's net effect is to increase recidivism.

Conversely, the work of the Probation Service in addressing criminality and the underlying causes of offending (most notably substance misuse), serves to reduce the likelihood of further criminal behaviour.

A J Barrow

Chief Probation Officer

Suffolk Probation Service