Published date : 09 Feb 2017

Hundreds of community payback projects, aimed at reducing reoffending are benefitting communities across Scotland.

From renovating local buildings to supporting charities helping the vulnerable, unpaid work delivers tangible benefits to communities - while supporting people to address the underlying issues behind their offending.

The annual summary of local authority Community Payback Order (CPO) reports, published today, highlights the innovative ways teams across the country have undertaken unpaid work, paying back to their local communities. Examples of work by CPO teams include:

• Leftover bakery goods delivered to churches for distribution to the vulnerable

• Renovating flats for young people leaving care

• Processing and delivering logs to elderly people for winter fuel

• Maintaining dozens of closed cemeteries

• Refurbishing a library to become a respite space for young carers

• Transport of donations for newly arrived refugees

The report highlights the positive responses from people who have benefited from work carried out in their community, highlighting the quality and speed of work done.

Individuals released from a prison sentence of six months or less are reconvicted more than twice as often as those given a CPO.

Meanwhile feedback from those who completed unpaid work show it was demanding but rewarding, giving them a chance to learn new skills and move away from offending.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Paying back to the community is at the heart of our approach to community justice.

“The evidence clearly demonstrates short prison sentences do little to rehabilitate or reduce reoffending. On the other hand, community sentences make a big difference. They give people a chance to break the cycle of offending while ensuring they pay back for the damage their actions have caused.

“Robust community sentences, like CPOs, is crucial to our drive to make our communities safer. That is why we invested an extra £4 million in community sentences last year, with additional funding continuing in the draft Budget for this coming year to support local authorities to keep delivering tailored CPO projects, with 1.2 million hours reported over the past year. Our approach is clearly working, with reconviction rates in Scotland now at a 17 year low.” 


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