As the ongoing reform of the Probation Service will bring in new private and voluntary organisations to deal with the rehabilitation of offenders, Weston’s MP John Penrose has written to the Justice Secretary to seek assurances that the changes won’t undermine local efforts to improve the quality of rehabs and co-ordinate the treatment of addicts.
John said: “We’ve had amazing success in tackling Weston’s problems with drugs since I became the town’s MP, with rehab places falling by 50% and the worst rehabs either closing or improving. This has mainly been achieved through better coordination between all the local services involved, such as the drug team, the police and housing services.
“When a drug-using offender is released from jail, they have to follow a long course of addiction treatment and rehabilitation before they can lead a normal life again, so it’s very important that they stay on everyone’s radar at all times and don’t go back to using drugs and committing crime without anyone noticing. We need to make sure that the planned probation reforms, useful though they are, have got this angle covered. It could cause terrible problems for Weston if all the right plans aren’t in place in advance. So I’m checking with the Minister that they’ve got this nailed down. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially with something as important as this!”