Offenders Do 1.8 Million Hours Free Work

30 March 2015, 15:57

More than 1.8 million hours of unpaid work was completed by offenders last year as part of their sentence, according to Scottish Government figures.

There were 18,600 community payback orders issued last year, with those involved working on projects including the construction of cycle paths, the removal of graffiti and refurbishing community centres, parks and sports facilities.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said the orders are an effective sentence for low-level offending.

He said: "This Government is working hard to ensure that Scotland is a safe place to live, work and visit.

"Recorded crime is at its lowest level for 40 years, supported by the work of more than 1,000 extra police officers in our communities.

"The figures represent the third full year of use for the community payback order - an order imposed by the courts to make offenders work hard in our communities, on both short and long-term projects as payback for their crimes - and it's clear that the orders are doing exactly that.

"The punishment should always fit the crime and prison is the right place for those who commit serious crimes or pose a danger to communities.

"However, we know that short prison sentences do not work to rehabilitate offenders or to reduce the risk of reoffending.

"Community sentences are more demanding, start more quickly and allow offenders to pay back to the community while also addressing the underlying causes of their offending behaviour.

"This is a smarter, more sophisticated option and we know it works.''