Offenders carry out £1m worth of work

Offenders in North Wales have carried out nearly nearly £1m worth of free labour as they repay their debt to society.

People across North Wales are being urged to tap into a vast pool of free labour to work on projects that will benefit their community.

Under the supervision of the Wales Probation Trust, offenders carry out 164,096 hours of compulsory unpaid labour in the region every year.

Projects included cleaning graffiti, tidying up criminal damage, environmental clean-ups, painting and decorating community buildings and clearing church yards.

The idea behind the Community Payback scheme is to give communities the chance to choose for themselves what is done by offenders in their local area.

The national appeal for ideas for Community Payback projects was launched by the Wales Probation Trust at the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells.

Vice Chair David Evans said: “The important thing about Community Payback is that people can have a say in what work takes place in their local area and how it benefits their community.”

“From bringing derelict areas and buildings back into public use, clearing church yards, repairing park benches and removing graffiti, offenders are working to make local communities better places to live.”

“Offenders on Community Orders do work that otherwise might not be carried out.

“The introduction of the high visibility orange jackets was a way of showing the community that  people are giving something back for their offences.

“As a result, local people can see that not only is justice being done but it’s also seen to be done.  In fact, we have received a number of letters praising the quality of the work carried out to the benefit of the community.

“Community Payback is hard work, restricts liberty, but crucially encourages rehabilitation and reduces re-offending which leads to greater public protection. It is physical work for the offenders but also has tremendous benefits for the community.

“It can also be a good grounding for gaining future employment.

“Statistics show that if somebody is in employment they are less likely to commit a further offence because their lifestyle is more stable. If fewer crimes are being committed that’s great news for everybody.”