Millions of hours’ unpaid work generated by community payback orders

Humza Yousaf

People serving community payback orders (CPO) since their introduction in 2011 have generated around seven million hours of unpaid work, according to new figures.

The Criminal Justice Social Work 2017-18 statistics show 17,800 CPOs were commenced in 2017-18 and 75 per cent had an unpaid work or other activity requirement.

In addition, just over 1,000 fiscal work orders commenced in 2017-18 including unpaid work and 86 per cent were successfully completed.

Responding to the figures, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf also confirmed plans to lay the order to extend the presumption against short prison sentences from three months to 12 after Easter.

Subject to parliamentary approval, it is anticipated the extension will come into force in the summer.

Mr Yousaf said: “From refurbishing and redecorating local facilities to gritting roads in cold weather, unpaid work projects make a real difference to communities. With the total number of hours around seven million, and evidence showing that those released from a short prison sentence are reconvicted almost twice as often as those given CPOs, the value of community sentences is clear.

“We are working closely with councils, third sector partners and Community Justice Scotland to strengthen the provision of alternatives to custody and support our hard-working prison officers by ensuring prison is focused on those people convicted of the most serious crimes and who pose the highest risk to public safety.

“As we plan for the extension of the presumption against short prison sentences, which is supported by empirical evidence and was backed by the vast majority of consultation respondents, we have protected and strengthened funding for Scotland’s criminal justice social work services so that it now stands at just over £100 million. We also provide over £11.6 million to third sector organisations working to help reduce reoffending - keeping crime down and communities safe.”

Tags: CPO, Humza Yousaf

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