I come under sniper fire from NAPO and Guardian/Observer

It would appear that fugitives from the War on Terror are hiding out in the offices of the National Association of Probation Officers, and the offices of the gutter press owned by the Guardian and Observer. I say this because I have come under sniper fire from both quarters and it is obviously a political conspiracy to try and discredit me.

NAPO is upset because I claimed that it was not fit for purpose, and that I intended selling off parts of the Probation Service to the private sector to improve the performance for the benefit of the public. I based my claim on stating that nearly 60% of those on probation re-offended within 2 years. NAPO claims that the figure is 53%. In any event, that is nearly 60%! NAPO’s campaigning against the Offender Management Bill is an act of terrorism.

Today the Observer states “Scandal of killers in open jails”. It is the sort of headline grabbing one would expect from the Sun, not from a newspaper claiming to belong to the quality press. It is not a scandal for those convicted of murder and manslaughter to progress through the prison system and enter open prisons as part of their resettlement programme before they are released back into society. “High-risk inmates are absconding after being housed in ‘soft’ prisons against the wishes of probation officers and governors”. Only those inmates deemed to be a minimum risk to the public are housed in open prisons. Some do breach the trust by absconding. It is for me to decide where prisoners are located and not for probation officers and prison governors to dictate to me. It is true that because of the large scale overcrowding that more use is being made of open prisons, and that the risk assessments are being manipulated for this purpose. I did warn that this would happen if Gordon Brown did not give me the money I asked for to build 5 more prisons. It is not true to claim that “Hundreds of prisoners, including murderers and paedophiles, who have been assessed as posing a serious threat to the public, are being transferred to open prisons”. They have been assessed as posing an acceptable risk. Only the goal post have been moved for administrative convenience.

In my view, it is an act of treason for this Report to be compiled by probation officers and then leaked to the media. It is to be expected that Brian Caton, another suspected terrorist, and general secretary of the extreme militant Prison Officer’s Association, would jump on the bandwagon. If I had my way I would lock up Edward Garnier, the Conservative spokesman on home affairs, for saying that my handling of the Prison Service is like watching a train crash. I have seen the film Trainspotting, and there can be no paralell drawn between them. No wonder the Tories are in opposition, the silly old buffers!

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