JOBLESS offenders in Kirklees face a new ‘hard labour’ policy. They will have to do a five-day week of hard work under new proposals for community sentences.
Last month in Kirklees, 491 offenders took part in 7,367 hours of unpaid work in the community – an average of just 15 hours each per month.
But new plans by Prisons and Probation Minister Crispin Blunt will see unemployed offenders forced to work a minimum of 28 hours over four days, with the fifth day spent looking for full-time work.
It was simple for Birkbyproud: “The sooner the better ... the harder work the better. Current community service is no deterrent and doesn’t benefit the community.”
Thinkaboutit can see an upside: “Sounds good to me. Huddersfield town centre could do with a very good clean.”
Stephen_Colbert had his doubts: “Fifth day spent looking for full-time work? Why not make them work Friday as well, just like every other law-abiding citizen? When will we punish the criminals into being afraid of breaking the law?”
Nickcave1 has the inside track: “Having worked in probation for more than eight years, community service is a bit of a joke. Changing the name from community service work to community payback hasn’t made it any tougher. A good 25% sentenced do not complete the hours ordered, many are taken back to court for breaching the order and are given a small penalty ie a few extra hours and told to carry on. This happens usually three times before the courts take any real action and even then this usually involves getting rid of the community work and imposing some other community penalty.”
DavidH has it all mapped out: “Community payback should benefit the whole community and this may just be by getting unemployed offenders away from ‘gangs’ or loitering with no purpose and being a genuine nuisance to others.
“The scheme needs to be managed almost on a military basis to ensure tasks are completed and offenders complete their hours. It’s punishment and skills learned through it should be a bonus to the individuals.
“There is always graffiti to clean off, litter to be cleared, public areas to be tidied, snow to shift in the winter etc. In times of cutbacks the Government and councils should utilise this available ‘labour’ to complete tasks where funding has been withdrawn.”