West Yorkshire Probation Keeps On Reducing Reoffending
The latest Ministry of Justice local reducing reoffending figures (1 October 2012 - 30 September 2013) show that Probation Trusts across the country have cut reoffending by 3.87% compared with the baseline rates of 2007 - 2008.
Once again West Yorkshire Probation is one of the best performing Probation Trusts with the actual reoffending rate 11.92% lower than the baseline rate.
All districts of West Yorkshire saw significant falls in reoffending rates compared to baseline rates including:
- Bradford where the reoffending rate fell by 15.72%
- Calderdale where the reoffending rate fell by 18.47%
- Kirklees which had a significant fall of 12.82%
- Leeds where the reoffending rate is 9.55% lower than the predicted rate
- Wakefield where the rate is 9.13% lower than predicted
The statistics are the fourteenth quarter in a row where West Yorkshire Probation has significantly reduced reoffending.
Chief Executive of West Yorkshire Probation, Sue Hall, said "This is yet another example of the excellent work being carried out by our professional and committed staff working in partnership with other local organisations. I am proud of the hard work and skill of my colleagues across West Yorkshire Probation who continue to deliver such positive results for our communities."
West Yorkshire Probation Trust
At any one time, West Yorkshire Probation Trust is responsible for the management of more than 11,000 adult offenders, approximately 5,700 on Community Orders, 2,300 on licence and 3,000 in custody.
We work with offenders in the community and in custody to tackle their offending behaviour and help them address issues that led them to commit crime. We work in partnership with a range of local organisations and are one of the top six Trusts for reducing reoffending - our reoffending rate has declined by 14% since 2005.
Our Victim Services Unit supports the victims of serious crime and domestic violence.
We are an award-winning, innovative Trust which is committed to reducing reoffending and protecting the public. In 2013 we received Investors in People Gold Award, are the only Trust in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers Index and won three Butler Trust Awards.
All in a Day's Work
Skills for Work Officer, Bradford
Skills for Work looks at where offenders want to be in terms of education, training and employment and helps them start the journey there from where they are now.
Simmone works across West Yorkshire including Kirklees Probation Centre, Shipley and at the Training Suite at City Courts in Bradford.
Two days a week Simmone trains offenders on Community Payback to gain Health and Safety qualifications and provides employment preparation. Each offender has to attend four sessions as part of their sentence. The success rate is excellent, but there are challenges as many offenders have very basic literacy and numeracy.
This work is with offenders on Intensive Alternative to Custody and Drug Rehabilitation Requirements who might not be willing to go to City Courts for support.
Together Women Project
Work here started in 2010 for one afternoon a week to support women offenders with education, training and employment.
Simmone works with another Skills for Work Officer and a tutor from Bradford College who is based permanently with Probation and provides numeracy and literacy training.
City Courts is Bradford district’s Skills for Work base. This is where Simmone carries out the initial offender assessments. These determine the offender’s needs and develop an action plan. Some offenders may have had previous poor experience of study and some can’t read or write. Simmone has to be realistic and manage offender’s expectation looking at the job market, but encourage them to make the most of previous study, work experience or even hobbies.
Probation works closely with Business Action on Homelessness to set up two-week work placements for offenders. The scheme allocates a work buddy who also provides six months of support to help the person secure a job. The placements provide a reference and have a good success rate with 50% of the people (not all offenders) securing work. One benefit is that offenders see what doing a job is like and get used to the structure.
Skills for Work can provide a different range of support depending on need. If the offender is ready for work, the focus is on job searches and realistic expectations – ie not to take a job which needs an hour’s journey but where the salary would only cover the travel costs.
If the offender wants to do more training, Simmone looks at local colleges and helps to identify the right course and supports the offender to fill in the application form and source funding if available. This includes taster courses and longer term training.
Simmone sees some offenders regularly but others, who go on to college courses, rarely. Some are very motivated - one person came to a group session with two job offers and the group helped him decide which to accept.
Why I come to work
- Seeing the delight when offenders gain the health and safety certificate, sometimes the only qualification they’ve ever received
- It’s all worth it when an offender gets a job or a college place
- Seeing offenders willing to take on voluntary work and understanding that volunteering can help develop work-related skills in many areas
- Getting the message to probation staff that Skills for Work is part of probation and can work with colleagues to best support offenders
- Working with offenders who aren’t interested
Skills for Work Officer - Bradford