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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

September 1, 2008: Tougher Community Work For Offenders

Steps to further toughen up the demanding physical work offenders carry out on community payback were announced today. Courts will be able to hand out tougher and more intense penalties for a range of offenders - including those in possession of knives - who are ordered to carry out work such as picking up litter, renovating community centres, clearing undergrowth and graffiti for local communities.

Starting today, anyone convicted of a knife-related offence who is unemployed and sentenced to the maximum 300 hours of community payback from the courts will complete their sentence in intensive blocks of up to five days a week. This will mean more intensive labour for all those knife offenders who are not in work across all 42 probation areas.

A pilot will also run to see if this sort of intense work could be rolled out to all types of offenders given community payback. West Yorkshire will trial a programme for all offenders receiving 200 hours of work from the courts doing this intensively in 6 weeks. This will represent a significant loss of liberty and free time for many people with work taking place 5 days per week and continued tough consequences for not turning up.

The measures follow the recent announcement made by the Prime Minister that community payback for offenders would be tough, visible and effective. Minister of State for Justice David Hanson MP also highlighted that more offenders are currently 'paying back' the community through work at weekends when they expect to have free time, with 74% of community payback programmes running on either Saturday or Sunday. He said:

>'Offenders sentenced to "pay" for their crimes within the community can already expect to work hard and lose much of their free time. By introducing intensive 5 days a week payback for many knife crime offenders we are further toughening these punishments. Initially the change will affect the small number of knife crime offenders who are given the longest community payback sentences instead of custody by magistrates, but we are also announcing a pilot to assess the suitability and success of extending this over time to a much wider range of offenders.

'It is important that the public can see and influence the work that is being carried out by offenders in their neighbourhoods. This is crucial to ensure that there is confidence in community sentences.

'The public can already suggest projects for offenders to work on to their local probation office and we are intending to set up community panels linked closely to local communities which will further enable members of the public to propose work projects for offenders in their local area.'

>Last year there were 55,771 completions of community payback across England and Wales, providing over six million hours of free labour for communities.

As well as providing a tough form of punishment for offenders and a constructive form of payback to communities, tough community sentences can be more effective than a short prison sentence in terms of rehabilitating some offenders, turning them away from crime and therefore giving greater protection to the public.

Recent statistics show that frequency of reoffending for community sentences have fallen sharply by 13%. The reoffending rate following a short custodial sentence is 59.7%. The reoffending rate following a community sentences is 37.9%.

A community sentence can be made up of one or more of the following 12 options: compulsory community payback, specific activity - such as a community drug centre, supervision - daily or weekly meetings with a probation officer, an accredited programme to tackle issues such as anger management, prohibited activity, curfew, exclusion from a place, activity at an attendance centre, residence with an automatic curfew, mental health treatment, drug rehabilitation and alcohol treatment.

Sentences are constructed to ensure the public's safety is paramount, the offender is duly punished, but they are also given the opportunity to rehabilitate and get help for the some of the root causes behind their offending.