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Reparation by Offenders: Fixed Penalties

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will consider the merits of proposals for (a) appealable community penalties and (b) reparation fixed penalty notices for minor crimes. (251238)

Community sentences are available for all offences that also carry imprisonment. The sentence in any individual case is entirely a matter for the court, which can impose a community sentence if it considers the offence serious enough to warrant that but not so serious if the custody is the only proper response. All sentences are appealable.

Fixed penalty notices are simple non-bureaucratic financial punishments designed to deal with minor crimes on the spot. As their name implies, they are fixed. This concept does not lend itself to reparation. There are alternative, more suitable out-of-court disposals available, such as conditional cautions, where offenders can be required to make reparations such as repairing any damage caused.