Community payback is working

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OFFENDERS worked 316,000 hours on Community Payback projects last year, worth nearly £2million in free labour to communities in Sussex and Surrey.

Community Payback is work carried out by offenders as part of their sentence and enables them to give something back for the crimes they have committed.

The projects range from single placements with small voluntary organisations to large groups undertaking conservation work and to clearing up eyesores in town centres.

Surrey & Sussex Probation Trust this week published its Community Payback Annual Report which outlined the kind of projects undertaken and the number of hours worked by offenders in 2011.

The report also looked at a number of case studies which highlight particular projects carried out in Surrey and Sussex in 2011.

They include external and internal painting and cutting back hedges at an Eastbourne school, digging a wildlife pond and hedge laying at Park Wood, Hailsham, clearing passageways in Eastbourne, painting and decorating the Eastbourne Sea Cadets building and painting Cavendish School.

One Eastbourne offender, who was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work last year for assault, was placed to work in a St Wilfrid’s Hospice shop.

His probation officer said he reported being made to feel like a normal staff member. Because of the relationship he had formed with the team, he intends to do a parachute jump in December in aid of their charity.

He has already received £410 in sponsorship so far and hopes to persuade his employer to match any sponsorship raised.”

Nick Smart, acting chief executive of Surrey & Sussex Probation Trust, said, “The Community Payback team has continued to deliver high quality sentences for our courts that are challenging for offenders whilst providing tangible benefits for our communities.

!We welcome and encourage nominations from members of the public via our website.

“The process to tender Community Payback across the country has begun and we are committed to working with partners to continue to be a provider of Community Payback in Surrey and Sussex.”

For more information on Community Payback or to nominate a project visit our Community Payback pages.