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Community Probation underplays risks of dispute

PSA media release 26 June 2001

Community Probation underplays risks of industrial dispute

The PSA has called the Community Probation Service foolhardy in its attempts to underplay the serious risks posed by the industrial action taken by PSA members in support of suspended Probation Officers.

"The PSA has received alarming reports of service gaps and non-supervision of offenders and home detainess", said PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“We have reports that offenders serving their sentence of imprisonment at home (home detainees) have breached their conditions of home detention and should be recalled to prison immediately. Due to the suspension of probation officers no staff are available to do this urgent work putting the community at risk”, said Richard Wagstaff.

CPS has said that they have measures in place to manage and supervise high risk offenders. But PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff has said that due to the lack of staff on the job, CPS has no idea of how many high risk offenders have current directions to report in and who those offenders are. Nor has CPS been in contact with those high risk offenders to give them alternative reporting instructions.

“We understand that there are totally inadequate numbers of staff left to do the job. In Christchurch alone there is only one very inexperienced Probation Officer expected to supervise sixty offenders on home detention.”

“There is no way the job can be done. We are now receiving reports that home detention violations are going unchecked and individual offenders are getting no supervision.”

“CPS need to face up to the fact that their suspension of Probation Officers was ill-conceived and places considerable risks on the public. They should acknowledge that they cannot run the service whilst they insist on suspending their staff.”

Persons on probation have not been able to report to their probation officer as per their instructions from the Prison Service and from Courts.


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