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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

February 8, 2008: Straw Supports Community Sentences

Justice Secretary Jack Straw has given his commitment to offer more community sentences that provide effective punishment and rehabilitation for offenders, benefiting communities whilst reducing reoffending.

He was visiting a community payback project to see offenders sentenced by community justice courts carry out unpaid work. This visit follows last week's announcement that the Ministry of Justice will be spending an extra £13.9 million on a number of intensive alternative to custody projects over the next three years. Under the Community Payback scheme local residents are able to make suggestions and nominate work they would like carried out by offenders in their local area.

Speaking at the visit Jack Straw said,

'Rigorous community sentences that effectively address offenders' behaviour get right to the heart of the offending. The sentences provide punishment and restrict liberty for individuals in order to address patterns of behaviour in often chaotic lifestyles.

'It makes sense to use the sanction which is ultimately most effective in terms of cutting re-offending. For many offenders, community-based punishments are proven to be more effective at reducing re-offending than short term prison sentences. I was pleased to announce last week that we will fund six new intensive alternatives to custody projects with investment of £13.9 million over the next three years.

'Last year over six million hours of compulsory unpaid work was carried out by offenders who have received a community order in England and Wales. This is the equivalent of £33 million that has benefited local communities across the country.

'Prison is the right place for the most serious and violent offenders but there are currently people in prison who would be better rehabilitated and therefore less likely to reoffend - elsewhere, including those with mental health issues and vulnerable women so we must ensure that courts have tough community sentences at their disposal to deal with less serious, non violent offenders. It is of course vital we ensure there are prison places for those serious and dangerous offenders who ought to be in prison and as can be seen here today we are delivering effective community sentences, sentences that benefit local people.'

The intensive community sentences pilot will begin in Derbyshire in March, and will include a combination of unpaid work, electronic monitoring, behaviour programmes, mentoring, and help with resettlement, all under intensive supervision. These projects are designed to strengthen existing use of current legislation to maximise the use of the community order, especially in those cases where the Probation Service believes a community sentence may be more beneficial.

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.

The community order, introduced in the Criminal Justice Act 2003, gives sentencers the flexibility they need to tailor community sentences to the offence and the offender. Within the community order, there are a number of very demanding requirements such as regular drug testing, treatment and monitoring under the Drug Rehabilitation Requirement to more punitive elements such as curfews and physically demanding working in the community under the unpaid work requirement.