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Community Payback

Volume 703: debated on Tuesday 9 November 2021

We are investing an extra £93 million over the next three years to recruit 500 additional community payback staff, so that we can increase hours worked to a record-breaking 8 million a year.

Requiring offenders to give back to their communities not only delivers a just punishment but sends out a clear signal to other criminals that crime does not pay. Can my right hon. Friend assure the House that where a community sentence is given, the offender actually then serves it?

I can assure my hon. Friend that we are investing significant extra resources, time and effort into making sure that community payback is both seen and effective. He is quite right that we want the public to see that justice is done, and we want offenders to know that their punishment is meaningful. There is a third reason why community payback is important, however, which is that offenders need to learn what the rest of us know—that we all have to play our part in building a great community and a safe neighbourhood. By this method we can almost teach them the value of contribution to their local neighbourhood.

We want to make sure that community payback is visible, and that means that there will be more people out there on the street cleaning up, improving the environment and so on. That will enable us to square the circle, with a sense of repaying a debt to society but also an ongoing commitment to it.