Figures compiled for 2016/17 by Probation show that offenders on Community Service in the Mid Ulster and Armagh area have completed 14,300 hours of unpaid work to benefit local communities. That is over £107,250 worth of work to help local communities in Armagh, Dungannon, Cookstown and Magherafelt.
Probation’s Chief Executive, Cheryl Lamont said, “Probation works by changing lives for safer communities and Community Service is a key element in our work. It is a visible and practical method of ensuring offenders pay something back to the community while helping them to develop skills they can use in the future which will prevent them continuing in a cycle of crime.
Community Service is one of the most successful court sentences in terms of preventing re-offending. Three out of four people who complete community service do not re-offend within one year.
Over the past seven years this has translated into over one million hours of unpaid work, worth over seven million pounds, invested into local communities, across Northern Ireland.”
Probation Area Manager for Mid Ulster, Ruth McKelvey said, “We supervise offenders working on a range of projects including environmental clean ups, painting and decorating community premises, grass cutting, and maintenance. These projects have included Benburb Priory, Manor House Moneymore, Dungannon Youth Resource centre, Cookstown Community Cancer Care, Cancer Research Dungannon, Barnardos Cookstown, and The Lurach Centre Maghera.
We also work with Mid Ulster District Council and provide assistance through Policing and Community Safety Partnerships to develop projects that target the effects of criminal and anti-social behaviour through graffiti removal or neighbourhood clean ups.
Through these and many other projects over the last year, 14,300 hours of unpaid work has been delivered equating to a reparative value of £107,250. Many communities within the Mid Ulster area have benefitted from this as a result.”
Offenders who carry out this unpaid work are able to give something back to communities, make reparation for the crimes they have committed and develop skills to help change their lives away from a cycle of crime. Probation staff supervise these sentences in a robust manner and if someone breaches their sentence they are returned to court.”
If any community group or member of the public has an idea for a project that offenders could work on for the benefit of your community, they can nominate a project for offenders to undertake at www.pbni.org.uk or you can email us at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Criminal Justice Inspection in their follow up report “A follow-up review of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland’s Community Service Scheme” used a reparative value calculated against the National Minimum Wage for the Community Service Scheme. This reparative value calculation was used to show the reparative value of Community Service for the year 2016/17. Currently this is £7.05 for 21 to 24 year olds and a living wage of £7.50 for 25 year olds and over. Most of those on Community Service are 25 years or older.