Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Community Service: A Tough Enough Deterrent?

Last week, the Government revealed plans to shake-up prison and probation services in England, in a move which will see fewer criminals serving time in jail.

Instead, the five-year plan, unveiled by Home Secretary Charles Clark, will see an increase in the amount of unpaid work carried out by offenders in the community. In its report, ’‘Protecting the Public and Reducing Re-offending’, the Government said that it expects the number of hours of unpaid work done by offenders to rise from 5 million in 2003 to approaching 10 million in 2011. ‘We hope this will include an important contribution towards the work necessary to prepare for the Olympic games,’ the report added.Community sentences will be introduced in autumn 2006 under a new type of sentence called Custody Plus.

This will apply to all sentences of less than one year and will combine a short period in prison with a longer period of supervision in the community. In light of this, last week’s Friday Poll asked for you view: do you think that non-dangerous offenders should, where possible, carry out their punishment the serving the community through unpaid work or do you think that loss of liberty in prison serves as a greater punishment and deterrent to future criminal behaviour?46% of those who voted in the poll are in favour of letting offenders work out their punishment in the community while the remaining 54% believe that loss of liberty through a prison sentence is the most appropriate penalty for criminal behaviour.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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