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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 1, 2008: Orange Jackets For Offenders Arrive

Branded high-visibility jackets must be worn by offenders carrying out work on Community Payback projects from today, as part of a government drive to ensure the public can see punishment being carried out in the community.

The roll-out of the new jackets across England and Wales builds on a recommendation from Louise Casey's review, 'Engaging communities in fighting crime', published in June 2008, outlining the importance of people seeing justice being done. The review found that:

  • 70% of the public believe offenders should be identifiable
  • 88% of the public believe that community payback should involve demanding work
  • 79% of the public believe local people should be informed when community sentences for those committing crime or antisocial behaviour are made
  • 90% of the public believe that payback to the community should be part of all punishments for crime
  • 79% of the public believe that the criminal justice system respect the rights of offenders and only 33% believe that it meets the needs of victims.

Probation union Napo have already called for end of orange jackets for those on community payback. Napo issued its call for the withdrawal of this policy on the grounds that it is demeaning, excluding and potentially dangerous, and asked that the implementation date be delayed on the grounds that the equipment and clothing is not available.

Launching the jackets, Justice minister Jack Straw said:

'Community punishments like unpaid work can be more productive than prison in getting offenders to stop their criminality. But public confidence in these punishments is lower than it should be, not least because they are less visible than they should be.'

'The public, the taxpayer, has an absolute right to know what unpaid work is being done to payback to them for the wrongs the offender has committed. These high visibility jackets with the distinctive logo 'community payback' are one way in which I am trying to open up this part of the criminal justice system.'

Mr Straw has asked Ms Casey to identify more ways to make the justice system more visible, specifically offenders paying for their crimes in the community.

Courts are now able to hand out tougher and more intense penalties for a range of offenders who are ordered to carry out work such as picking up litter, renovating community centres, clearing undergrowth and graffiti for local communities.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith commented:

'Making sure that people feel safe and secure in their communities is my top priority. And central to that is building people's confidence that crime is being tackled in their areas and justice is being done – and being seen to be done.

'The new high visibility jackets for Community Payback are another step in helping to build community confidence in the criminal justice system.'

Neighbourhood, Crime and Justice Adviser Louise Casey, said:

'I am pleased that the Government is taking the views of the public seriously. It is a step towards building the public's confidence in the criminal justice system – that it is on their side – and not solely on the side of the offender. This is not about humiliation – it's about ensuring the public can see justice being done. It's about letting the public know that there are consequences for committing crime, that Community Payback is not a 'slap on the wrist' and that they can see how it can benefit their local area.

'The more confidence the public have in the system, the more we can ask the public to play their part – by reporting crime, giving evidence in court and supporting victims in their community.

'I will rise to the challenge set me by the Justice Secretary to make sure that Community Payback is visible to local communities right across the country.'

Recent statistics show that frequency of reoffending for community sentences have fallen sharply by 13%. In March 2008, the Ministry of Justice announced £40m to further support the probation service so that magistrates have tough community sentences that will punish offenders at their disposal.

The reoffending rate following a short custodial sentences is 59.7%. These short sentences can lead to problems with employment, housing and family relations, and there is insufficient time to tackle the causes of the offender's behaviour. The reoffending rate following a community sentences is 37.9%. That is why the Ministry of Justice want to see greater use made of the best community sentences which for some offenders could be more effective at reducing reoffending than short custodial sentences.