Offenders working on community payback after being sentenced for criminal offences have contributed nearly half a million hours in unpaid work to their communities.
Interserve, the largest provider of probation and rehabilitation services in England and Wales, has seen its five community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) deliver 1.19 million hours of community payback in the past 12 months.
Interserve, which works on behalf of the government and supervise approximately 40,000 medium-low risk offenders, estimates that with the national wage standing at £7.83 this equates to more than £9.2m of work delivered.
Interserve’s five CRCs operate in Humberside, Lincolnshire, North and West Yorkshire, the north-west and Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Offenders ordered to take on unpaid Community Payback work participate in a range of manual tasks, including removing graffiti, litter picking, clearing parks and cemeteries, renovating buildings and work in charity shops.
Magistrates or judges can sentence offenders to carry out anything from 40 to 300 hours of unpaid work as part of their order. Community Payback must include a minimum of a day’s work – lasting at least seven hours – once a week.
People can also be sentenced to intensive Community Payback orders, which mean they must complete 28 hours of work every week.
All projects combine hard work and the chance for the participant to develop skills. It is also a punishment as the individual is giving up their time to carry out the work.
Community sentences can be given for crimes including damaging property, benefit fraud and assault. They are often handed out by judges and magistrates when the offender is appearing at court for the first time or when it is thought such a sentence may be more likely to stop an offender committing crimes than a prison sentence.
“Community payback provides a tough, effective and visible punishment requiring people to undertake challenging work while giving something back to communities where they live”
Ian Mulholland, Interserve’s director of justice, said: “Interserve is working to create safer communities, prevent future victims of crime and support those at risk of re-offending.
“Community payback provides a tough, effective and visible punishment requiring people to undertake challenging work while giving something back to communities where they live.
“It also provides an opportunity for people to turn their experience into a positive one by picking up new skills that can help them towards paid employment and leading more stable, positive and crime-free lives.”
Interserve aims to transform probation services by looking at the whole system so that it can meet the needs of individuals. This personalisation of services places the rehabilitation of the offender at the heart of decision-making and incorporates business transformation across operations, human resources, finance and information and communications technology.
Through its Charity Charter, Interserve works with local charities and not-for-profit organisations. This enables it to provide a range of complementary services including restorative justice, domestic violence and drug and alcohol awareness programmes, and access to training and employment.
The justice division demonstrates expertise from across the criminal justice arena including local and national government, probation, policing, prisons, partnerships and the third sector.