Grayling backs payment-by-results contracts for reoffending
By Richard Johnstone in Birmingham | 10 October 2012
Private sector firms and charities could be given a bigger role in the rehabilitation of prisoners through the extension of payment-by-results contracts, new Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the Conservative Party conference yesterday.
The former employment minister, who helped pioneer the use of such contracts for the government’s Work Programme, said they would help end the ‘national scandal’ of half of offenders leaving prison being reconvicted within a year.
Payment-by-results contracts are already being tested in some prisons, but Grayling indicated they would be expanded, with providers paid only if those released from prison do not then reoffend.
He said that as part of a justice system that ‘punishes properly’, he wanted offenders to know that ‘we will send you to prison but we want to change things so that you don't keep coming back’. The current failure of the prison system to prevent reoffending was ‘stark’, he added.
‘Over the past two and a half years I have been working with Iain Duncan Smith to transform our welfare state. It's now time to do the same in justice.
‘As employment minister, I pioneered the use of large-scale payment by results contracts to help the long-term unemployed through our Work Programme. It's a simple proposition really. You decide what works best, and we pay you when you are successful.’
Grayling said he now wanted to bring the ‘same approach’ to preventing reoffending, through programmes that provide skills and training and make more effective use of drug rehabilitation and alcohol treatment.
‘We will allow nimble private and voluntary sector providers to innovate, to find the right mix of training and mentoring, to do what works in ensuring that those leaving prison and community sentences do not reoffend.’
The Ministry of Justice is already using payment-by-results contracts in Doncaster and Peterborough prisons and five other schemes are also planned in an initial phase.