Offenders who are released from prison will receive at least one year’s supervision in the community.
In an attempt to toughen up the probation regime and to reduce “stubbornly high reoffending rates” the Offender Rehabilitation Bill will outline a number of new laws. Under the plans, which are due to come into force in England in 2015, those who fail to comply with the terms of their supervision could be fined, ordered to do community work or even be jailed for up to 14 days.
Private firms and voluntary organisations will be paid to supervise prisoners, receiving payment “on results” by finding them employment.
Released offenders will also face compulsory drug tests for cannabis use, an addition to the current regime checks in which class-A drug use is tested, as well as skills training amongst other programmes.
If they mis-behave during the 12 months they could see themselves returned to prison.
Mr Grayling said: “These reforms represent a golden opportunity to finally turn the tide and put a stopper in the revolving door of the justice system. It is simply not good enough that we spend £4bn a year on prisons and probation and yet make no real dent in the appetite of offenders to commit more crime.”
He also told BBC’s Radio 4 that “We have a system at the moment where only around 25 per cent of probation officers’ time is spent working with offenders. Something like 40 per cent of the resources is spent support costs.
‘We have reoffending rates that are rising among offenders jailed for less than a year. At the moment they walk out onto the streets with £46 in their pockets and that’s it. That cannot be a sensible system and it needs to change.
“We are talking about 250,000 people a year being supported through probation at the moment. This (reform) will bring another 50,000 people into the net for the first time. I am going to pay for that with a system that is less bureaucratic and more efficiently run.”