Sir,

Yesterday, Labour called a Commons debate on the Tory/Lib Dem plans to privatise the Probation Service. This will see the supervision of 12,000 serious and violent offenders in Wales handed over to private companies.

Wales Probation, the third biggest Probation Trust in England and Wales will be abolished. Whitehall will commission services on behalf of Welsh communities and hand over responsibility for management of 80% of violent and sexual offenders to the usual corporate suspects; G4S, Serco, Carillion and A4E.

These companies not only have no expertise or experience in probation, they have consistently failed to deliver other large government contracts.

We haven’t forgotten the G4S Olympic fiasco. Serco is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office after claims it had overcharged the government by tens of millions of pounds for electronic tags for criminals. Carillion has been involved in blacklisting and A4E was investigated last year after allegations of systemic fraud.

The Government have been avoiding bringing their plans before Parliament because they don’t want them to be subject to scrutiny. This sort of payment-by-results system for probation is untested anywhere in the world and is being rolled out nationally at breakneck speed. Its an unnecessary, reckless and dangerous gamble.

Probation professionals in Wales work tirelessly to reduce reoffending and keep the public safe. These plans show a complete lack of respect for those professionals and for our safety.

Jo Stevens

Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Cardiff Central

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