Grieve summons the ghost of Group 4…..
If there is one defining thing that shows conclusively that the Conservatives have defiantly not changed its their reliance on and slavish worship of the private sector. Does anybody else remember the abject chaos the last Conservative government along with Group 4 induced in the criminal justice system? It won a contract to run a prison escort service, well I say escort when in actual fact it was closer to a early release scheme given the propoensity prisoners had to escape from its vans.
It seems Dominic Grieve and Mr Cameron have shorter memories. According to the Financial Times:
The private sector would be handed a far bigger slice of the £3.2bn prisons and probation market as part of plans being drawn up by the Conservative party to overhaul the criminal justice system.
This change is one the CBI are busy lobbying for because of the ‘crisis in the public finances’. So, rehabilitation of offenders and public safety are to be sacrificed on the altar of ‘balancing the books’. This all sounds logically consistent with the Conservative Parties approach throughout its history and doesnt actually seem to represent any kind of change at all.
Of course, it is completely in-line with the ‘Big Society’ ideal espoused by Cameron; in fact, the asset-stripping ‘pay companies by results’ approach has already been pioneered in areas like health and looks like a commonly emerging theme. It has to be happily noted there is likely opposition to these proposals:
a further expansion of the private sector’s role would be bitterly opposed by prison officer unions and penal reformers.
Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “To protect the public, responsibility for supervising former prisoners should remain firmly with the probation service.”
Lyon is right; the Conservative proposals are dangerous for society and once again show their committment to actually solve problems in society actually boils down to enriching the private sector at the expense of the public good.