Amendment 167A (to Amendment 167)

Part of Victims and Prisoners Bill - Committee (7th Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords am 9:00 pm ar 12 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Ceidwadwyr 9:00, 12 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, I rise to move my Amendment 167A and speak to my Amendments 167B and 167C, all amendments to Amendment 167, which was so ably moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Fox. On a procedural point, technically we are debating my amendment, but of course all noble Lords can speak to all amendments within the group.

I agree with nearly everything the noble Baroness said about the desirability of her amendment, which I strongly support. She mentioned that this approach was the one taken by the cross-party Justice Committee in another place. I am bound to say that this is quite a good pedigree. The noble Baroness has dealt with all the most obvious points. However, there is a real concern that some agencies might not be able to cope with a large and sudden increase in demand arising from numerous IPP releases from custody—although the noble Baroness did talk about a phased process so that you would not get a huge number of resentencings at the same time. Nevertheless, we must make sure that we do not overrun the Probation Service, because that is the most obvious example.

My amendments seek to improve the original amendment by ensuring that the requisite Probation Service capacity is available before any resentencing exercise starts. It may be that, when he comes to respond to this amendment, my noble and learned friend the Minister will identify other areas where there is a similar capacity shortfall. If that is the case, a similar approach can be taken.

My Amendment 167C is a substantive one, and proposed new subsection (9) prevents the new section coming into force unless the Secretary of State is satisfied

“that the Probation Service has the capacity and resources” to meet any additional demand resulting from the resentencing exercise. Proposed new subsection (10) requires the Secretary of State to

“commission a thematic review by the Chief Inspector of Probation that considers” the capacity and resources of the Probation Service in order to make an informed decision. Finally, proposed new subsection (12) requires the Secretary of State to annually review his decision if he is not satisfied that the capacity is in place. I beg to move.