What is Community Payback?
An Unpaid Work Requirement (known as Community Payback) is one of the 12 requirements that can be included in a community order. It involves offenders doing compulsory work for the benefit of the community.
All offenders undertaking Community Payback are screened to assess the risk they may pose to the public, and are closely supervised at all times. They will have to perform between 40 and 300 hours of payback. The requirement is imposed as a punishment but it may have rehabilitative elements to it.
Community Payback is a very rigorous sentence that is also beneficial to the community. Community Payback is strictly supervised and incorporates other aspects like Skills for Life provision. Community Payback can provide a better opportunity for rehabilitation to the offender, and therefore help us protect the public in future.
Because Community Payback involves lots of intensive supervision, it provides a unique opportunity to teach offenders new cognitive and practical skills. Community Payback supervisors are trained to act as positive role models and to encourage the development of pro-social attitudes and behaviour towards work, other individuals and the wider community. It also gives offenders the chance to learn new skills in real situations - this style of practical learning suits offenders much better than more traditional teaching methods, and cultivates problem solving, interpersonal and employment-related skills. These skills are vital if the offender is to return to ‘normal’ society.
As with all community sentences, Community Payback is closely monitored, and offenders who do not obey the rules will be breached and returned to court.
Will the public know that people working in their area are offenders?
We are keen to promote awareness of Unpaid Work under the Community Payback logo. Offenders on most projects wear branded high-visibility vests and may will also display a Community Payback signboard.
What type of offenders work in the community?
In general Community Payback is given to low and medium risk offenders. It is not a suitable sentence for high risk offenders. Typical crimes are motoring offences, public order offences, theft and other dishonesty.
How do people know offenders are safe to work in their community?
All offenders are carefully assessed before they are allocated to work projects to ensure the safety of the public. Groups of offenders are also supervised by trained probation staff.
Does it cut crime?
As well as a punishment Community Payback is proven to reduce re-offending in many cases. Work carried out such as gardening, forestry, painting and decorating and carpentry can be accredited by education providers, giving offenders a recognised certificate. For many this is the first educational qualification they have ever achieved and is an incentive to carry on with further education or apply for jobs.
Research indicates that if offenders can gain stable employment they are 30 per cent less likely to re-offend. Offenders sentenced to unpaid work are half as likely to reoffend as those sentenced to short prison sentences.
Click here to download the Community Payback Annual Report 2012
Click here to download
the Community Payback Annual Report 2011