spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All Campaigns subcategories:

Anti-capitalism

Anti-fascist

Anti-racism

Anti-war

Asylum

Black and Asian

Children

CNWP

Corporate crime

Disability

Education

Election campaigns

Environment

EU

Finance

Food

Gender Recognition Act

Health and safety

Health and welfare

Housing

Human Rights

LGBT Pride

Local government

* Local services

Low pay

Migration

Nationalisation

New workers party

NHS

Pensions

Post Office

Poverty

Privatisation

Public Services

Socialism

Socialist

Sport

Stop the slaughter of Tamils

Students

The state

Transport

TUSC

Welfare rights

Women

Workplace and TU campaigns

Youth


Local services keywords:

Care Homes (38)

Closures (159)

Cuts (3425)

Disability (101)

Fire (265)

Fire service (71)

Huddersfield (234)

Libraries (94)

Library (123)

Nursery (37)

Probation (47)

Water (126)

Probation


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 874, 14 October 2015: Organise to fight endless austerity

Search site for keywords: Napo - Prisons - Union - Cuts - Probation - Austerity - Pay - Trade union - Privatisation - Prison - Eastbourne - Shop Stewards - Trial - Ministry of Justice - Workers - Jeremy Corbyn - Benefits - Crime - Legal aid

Napo at a crossroads

Probation and family courts workers gathering in Eastbourne for their union, Napo's, AGM, 15-17 October, face an uncertain future as the full scale of government cuts and privatisation comes into view. Chas Berry, Napo national vice chair (personal capacity)

Probation workers on strike to save the service in 2013, photo by Paul Mattsson

Probation workers on strike to save the service in 2013, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Former justice secretary Chris Grayling's act of vandalism in splitting up and privatising over half of the probation service has predictably led to swingeing job cuts and attacks on terms and conditions in the newly outsourced Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs).

Meanwhile, staff transferred to the National Probation Service (NPS) are struggling to manage high caseloads within a dangerously under resourced and unresponsive management structure. As Napo has warned for some time, the public is at increased risk.

Michael Gove

Anyone hoping for respite after Grayling's brutal regime can be under no illusions that newly appointed justice secretary Michael Gove will provide any relief. He pledged to Tory conference that he would bring "reforming zeal into the dark corners of our prison system" with an "unremitting emphasis" on "reform, rehabilitation and redemption."

But he fails to mention how he will achieve this with budget cuts of 249 million at the Ministry of Justice. There is also no mention of where probation services fit into his plans.

It seems clear we are in for more of the same, with the added bonus of a full frontal attack on our ability to organise as a union. It is no coincidence that Napo was singled out as one of the first to have the system of union deductions from pay (known as check-off) forcibly removed.

Inspire

Our stand in frustrating Grayling's Transforming Rehabilitation agenda (the government's reform programme for rehabilitating offenders) reminded the Tory establishment of what workplace organisation can achieve.

So they are out to destroy us along with every other trade union. This is why it is vital for Napo to join with others in opposing the trade union bill.

Some members are worried about threats facing the union from privatisation and breakup of the service. But Napo can both survive and prosper independently with a fighting strategy.

That starts with improving union density in the CRCs and encouraging NPS members to switch to direct debit. Beyond that, we can inspire a new generation of activists, untainted by the defeats of the past, to revitalise the branches and refresh the union at all levels.

Jeremy Corbyn's victory as Labour leader has shown that, when offered an alternative, young people in particular are not prepared to just sit back and accept more austerity. We have to replicate what Jeremy was able to achieve by offering dynamism and hope to our members, many who witness first hand what cuts to local services really mean to our offender clients and to victims of crime.


Prisons 'reform'

With almost breath-taking hypocrisy coming from a Tory minister, Gove tells us he wants prisons to become places where inmates can undertake meaningful work and education to prepare them for life on the outside. This is rich, when his predecessor closed 15 prisons, cut staff by 41% and watched prisoner numbers soar to dangerous levels

Violence

Outgoing chief inspector Nick Hardwick reported earlier this year that staff shortages, overcrowding and a rising level of violence had brought the system to the edge of collapse. Significantly, he said that training, education and other activity outcomes were 'dismal' - one in five prisoners spent less than two hours a day out of their cells.

Big business

What does Gove's announcement really mean for prison reform? His record as education secretary in forcing schools to become academies gives us a clue.

In a similar vein he plans to remove central regulation from prisons, allow governors 'freedom' to run their own establishments and pay them based on 'outcomes'.

He wants to see more businesses going into prisons and running them on business lines. This sounds more like a recipe for exploitation of a captive workforce than a progressive plan for rehabilitation.


What price justice in our courts?

Leicester magistrate Nigel Allcoat hit the headlines last month when he was suspended for paying 40 towards the court charge of a destitute asylum seeker. He later resigned his position.

Anyone who pleads guilty at a magistrates court has to pay costs of around 150; if they are found guilty after trial it goes up to 520; if it goes to crown court and they are found guilty it can go up to 1,200 on top of any fine, compensation or other charge. With an estimated 85% of all offenders on benefits or limited means, this is an unjust imposition on the poor, and scores of magistrates are resigning in protest.

Guilty

The criminal court charge, introduced in April, and cuts to legal aid represent further attacks on the poorest in our society. Funding is no longer available for a wide variety of civil cases including family law, and flat rate fees for criminal cases are driving many local law firms to the wall.

Napo members struggling to provide a fair and decent service for criminal and family courts often witness first-hand the impact of Tory enforced austerity. It's one of the reasons why we continue to dedicate ourselves to protecting victims and helping people change their lives.

It's also why many of us are enthused by the new mood of optimism pushing back against austerity and fighting for a fairer society.


Building a mass movement against austerity

Socialist Party fringe meeting

6pm to 7pm Thursday 15 October Pier Suite 2 (first floor) The View Hotel, Grand Parade, Eastbourne

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 







Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999