PAYING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

Unpaid work projects are helping to reduce reoffending while delivering tangible benefits to the community in Falkirk.

The annual summary of local authority Community Payback Order reports highlights the positive responses from people who have benefited from such projects.

Examples of unpaid work undertaken in the Falkirk area included environmental improvements, refurbishing buildings, gardening, graffiti removal and assistance for the elderly or disabled.
Falkirk West MSP and Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Paying back to the community is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s approach to community justice.

“The evidence clearly demonstrates short prison sentences do little to rehabilitate or reduce reoffending. On the other hand, community sentences give people a chance to break the cycle of offending while ensuring they pay back for the damage their actions have caused.”

Individuals given a CPO are less than half as likely to be convicted again as those who serve a prison sentence of six months or less.
Those who completed unpaid work said it was demanding but rewarding and gave them a chance to learn skills and move away from offending.

Mr Matheson added: “Robust community sentences, like CPOs, are crucial to the Scottish Government’s drive to make our communities safer. Our approach is clearly working, with reconviction rates now at a 17-year low.”