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Community Orders: Publicity

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had on the effectiveness of the high visibility payback scheme. (287968)

Ministers and senior officials hold regular reviews with departmental leads to ensure that the policy is being implemented consistently in all probation areas. Community Payback was launched in November 2005 to promote public awareness and confidence in the unpaid work community sentence. To increase visibility, distinctive clothing in the form of orange high visibility jackets has been required to be worn by offenders on most work sites, which are in view of the public, since December 2008. The use of distinctive clothing has been monitored. During the quarter April to June 2009 over one million hours of Community Payback were undertaken by offenders wearing distinctive clothing. If the hon. Member has specific concerns I would be glad to hear from him.

A Home Office surveys show that public awareness of Community Payback has increased from 49 per cent. in November 2008 to 74 per cent. in April 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people who had been placed on the high visibility payback scheme were rearrested within three months of participating on the scheme since its inception. (287970)

Information is unavailable relating to the re-arrest of offenders who have been required to wear distinctive high visibility clothing when undertaking Community Payback sentences.

The most recent information available relating to reoffending by adults is for those sentenced during the first three months of 2007. Offenders sentenced to Community Payback (unpaid work) during this period had a 25.8 per cent. rate of reoffending. This is the lowest rate of reoffending of the top five commonly used community orders, though it may only reflect the characteristics of offenders sentenced to Community Payback rather than simply the effectiveness of Community Payback in reducing the likelihood of reoffending.