Skip to main content


Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many probation areas provide unpaid work assignments for offenders in the evening. (268775)

Community Payback (unpaid work) operates seven days a week with weekend projects in all probation areas. Evening Community Payback schemes are not always practical or cost effective given the types of work involved. However, 15 probation areas report that indoor Community Payback work placements are operated in the evenings.

Offenders sentenced to Community Payback forfeit their free time to do tough demanding work which benefits the community. In this way they make reparation to the community for their crimes.

Last year (2007-08) 55,771 people successfully completed Community Payback sentences. This amounts to over 6 million hours of free labour, which was used to benefit the community.

Projects have included removing graffiti, bringing derelict areas and buildings back into public use, clearing church yards, country streams and unused allotments, repairing park benches and playground equipment. A lot of work is undertaken on environmental projects and also with schools, community centres, with faith groups and local authorities. It would not be practical or cost effective to undertake many of these tasks during the evening.