Paying Back to Society
9 February 2017
Hundreds of 'community payback' projects benefitting
Unpaid work projects aimed at reducing reoffending are welcomed
by 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
- Renovating flats for young people leaving care
- Processing and delivering logs to elderly people for winter
- Maintaining dozens of closed cemeteries
- Refurbishing a library to become a respite space for young
- 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.
Opening the newly-refurbished Restorative Justice Centre in
Bellshill today, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:
"Paying back to the community is at the heart of our approach to
community justice. Visiting CPO projects first-hand - like those
supported by the excellent new Bellshill CPO workshop in North
Lanarkshire - shows the benefits they bring, not only to the local
community but also to the people doing the unpaid work.
"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
Paul Kelly, Depute Leader of North Lanarkshire Council said:
"The refurbishment of our Community Payback workshop in
Bellshill highlights our commitment to tackling some of the causes
of offending and giving people the chance to learn from their
mistakes and develop their skills base.
"We work with offenders on community projects and work
programmes which help address underlying issues including victim
awareness, anger management, alcohol and drug misuse and domestic
violence. This valuable educational support helps to reduce further
offending and promote good citizenship."
Source: Scottish Government