Chief Inspector to leave post in the autumn

The Chief Inspector of Probation, Justin Russell, has announced he will leave the post in autumn 2023 (date to be confirmed).

Mr Russell joined the Inspectorate in June 2019, serving an initial three-year term before being reappointed in 2022. He says his decision to leave in the autumn coincides with a ‘natural break’ in the organisation’s work.

The Chief Inspector has guided the Inspectorate through some of its most challenging periods, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the reunification of the probation service and a series of high profile serious further offence reviews.

Mr Russell said: “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to leave my position as Chief Inspector in the autumn. This coincides with a natural break in our inspection programme as we prepare to start a new cycle of regional probation inspections, at the end of 2023, and a new cycle of youth inspections in 2024. This will give my successor time to put their own stamp on both these important new programmes and to get to grips with our interesting and challenging work.

“I am immensely proud of the work the Inspectorate has delivered during my four years as Chief Inspector, despite the challenges of the pandemic. It’s been a great privilege to lead such a hard-working and talented team. We have been able to shine a light on the work of both probation and youth justice services: highlighting where things need to improve, but celebrating where things are done well too, through our range of effective practice guides.

“We’ve given people on probation an enhanced voice in our inspections, through our partnership with User Voice and other organisations, led by people who’ve gone through the system themselves. And we’ve been able to publish important national reviews on drugs, mental health, race equality and post-release resettlement – all of which have had real impact.

“I will leave the role having huge respect for all those leading, and working for, probation and youth offending services. Their job has been far tougher than mine, and they deserve all our thanks for the commitment and resilience they have shown through some of the most challenging years in their respective histories.”


Notes to editor

1. Please note that the Chief Inspector will not be taking media bids at this time but will consider media bids once his departure date has been confirmed. Please contact to make a bid in advance.
2. Mr Russell’s successor will be confirmed by the Ministry of Justice in due course. For information regarding the appointment of the next Chief Inspector of Probation, please contact the Ministry of Justice press office.
3. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services across England and Wales.
4. Justin Russell was appointed as Chief Inspector of Probation in June 2019 and reappointed after completing his first term in June 2022.
5. Mr Russell has spent over 30 years working on a wide range of criminal justice issues as a researcher, policy maker and major programme leader and has a long-standing interest and involvement in probation and youth justice policy. Until January 2019, he was Director General for Justice Analysis and Offender Policy at the Ministry of Justice. He has also been the Head of the Home Office Violent Crime Unit and a Senior Policy Adviser in the 10 Downing Street Policy Unit and has worked for the Audit Commission and Mental Health Foundation. He was a non-executive Director of Turning Point from 2005 to 2011.
6. For media enquiries, please contact