A new approach to Community Payback that will see offenders completing tougher, more intensive punishments began recently in London, England. Serco, with London Probation Trust, will run Community Payback so it better tackles reoffending and delivers greater value for money. The four-year London contract will save taxpayers £25 million and ensure:
• Community Payback begins within days of sentencing.
• Offenders work seven-hour days as a minimum requirement.
• Better links with communities so offenders pay back in the area, or even street, their crime was committed in.
• Unemployed offenders work over four full days a week with a fifth day spent job seeking.
• Swift, robust action is taken against offenders who misbehave or fail to attend.
“Community Payback is a sound principle, with offenders being punished through unpaid work in the neighborhoods where they have brought misery and fear. But it is not meeting its full potential and does not always command public confidence,” said Jeremy Wright, minister for probation. “This partnership will bring innovation and deliver a tougher, swifter Community Payback service that offers real value for the taxpayer.”
Added Jeremy Stafford, chief executive of Serco UK and Europe CEO, “We are delighted to have been chosen to deliver this crucial public service for London. With our partners in London Probation Trust, we can make Community Payback a really effective part of the criminal justice system, giving offenders challenging and demanding work which will directly benefit the communities affected by their crimes. Serco is proud to play a part in making justice visible and efficient and to help break the cycle of re-offending.”
More than 15,000 offenders are ordered to carry out Community Payback each year in London.
Community Payback sees offenders carrying out tough physical unpaid work in high visibility jackets so communities can clearly see them paying back. Projects include renovating community centers, clearing rivers banks and removing graffiti from public spaces.