On Wednesday 27th January, Kit Malthouse spoke in the Prisons and Probation debate. He raised the potential merger of the Police and Probation service and the success of the compulsory sobriety project which has run in Croydon and which has been licensed for use across the country.
During the debate, Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove was explaining the Conservative Government’s aims to manage justice for the public good by using prisons to help reform characters and reduce rates of recidivism. Kit backs Michael Gove’s agenda wholeheartedly and in the debate on Wednesday, the Secretary of State acknowledged Kit’s contribution to these kinds of reforms as Deputy Mayor of London.
Referring to Michael Gove, Kit said- “My right hon. Friend has made an important point about reoffending. I wonder whether he has had a chance to consider my suggestion that the probation and police services should be merged so that offender management outside the prison estate became the responsibility of the police, who, in the end, are having to pick up the pieces. Might we not see a step change in the numbers that he has just outlined if we made that move, as well as quite a large financial saving?”
Later in the debate, once again in response to Gove, Kit said-“My right hon. Friend is making a profound and powerful point, with which I agree. Does he also agree that the involvement of alcohol is one of the largest drivers of short sentences, and that it often tips people over the edge? He will be aware of the compulsory sobriety project, which has been running in Croydon with powerful results. Now that he has licensed its use across the country, will he put some of his Department’s resources into spreading this disposal, which avoids the need for people to go to prison altogether and is a much more effective treatment for the problem? In removing alcohol, it removes offending.”
Reform in the justice system is one of Kit’s priorities and has been carried into Parliament from his time as Deputy Mayor of London for Policing tackling such issues as knife crime and driving innovative solutions such as compulsory sobriety as an alternative to prisons.