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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

December 28, 2007: Offenders Do 6m Hours Of Work

Over six million hours of compulsory unpaid work has been carried out by offenders who have received a community order in England and Wales this year. The Ministry of Justice has stated that this is the equivalent of £33 million (calculated on the National Minimum Wage, currently £5.52 per hour) that has benefited local communities across the country.

The work has brought derelict areas and buildings back into public use. Clearing church yards, repairing park benches and removing graffiti, offenders are put to hard work to make communities better places to live and they often carry out work that would otherwise not be completed.

Justice Minister David Hanson said:

'Community Punishments are hard work, restrict liberty, but crucially encourage rehabilitation and reduce re-offending. It is physical work for the offenders but also has tremendous benefits for the community.

'Last year there were 55,514 completions of unpaid work across England and Wales, providing million of hours of free labour for communities. In 2006-07 the National Probation Service had its best performance year with the highest ever rates of enforcement, record numbers of offenders completed accredited programmes and unpaid work, and more offenders starting and completed drug rehabilitation than in any previous year.'

Other data released shows examples of what community sentences have achieved in the 12 months since January 2007. Over three million hours have been spent on environmental and community projects this year. Offenders have spent over two million hours helping charities in the UK .

Evidence has found that offenders who commenced a community sentence in the first quarter of 2004 had lower reoffending rates than predicted (50.5% vs 54.1% respectively). During the same time period, actual reoffending rates for offenders serving custodial sentences of less than twelve months were over 73.4% against a predicted rate of 73.5%.

Community orders are made up of one or more of 12 possible requirements. A community order can last for up to three years but individual requirements can be for different lengths. Requirements may be combined to produce an individual package for each offender. The requirements available for use within a community order are:

  • Unpaid work
  • Activity (for example, employment, training or education, counselling or mediation)
  • (Accredited) Programme (including those tacking anger management, internet sex offending, substance abuse and drink driving)
  • Prohibited activity (including being banned from entering pubs of licensed premises, being banned from contacting individuals, working with certain groups or living or staying in the same household as certain groups)
  • Curfew (normally this is electronically monitored)
  • Exclusion (for instance from pubs, town centres, the vicinity of a victim's home or workplace, from a shop, and so on)
  • Residence (at an approved premise or private address)
  • Mental Health Treatment
  • Drug Rehabilitation
  • Alcohol Treatment
  • Supervision (attending regular appointments with a probation officer)
  • Attendance Centre (for adults aged 18-24 only)

Offenders who fail to comply with their community order are breached and returned to court. The court can re-sentence the offender for the original offence and might impose a custodial sentence. Alternatively, the court can extend or add requirements and allow the community order to continue.