Instead of a prison sentence, convicted offenders may, instead, be given the opportunity by the Court to perform unpaid work for the community. The legislation for Community Service Orders allows a Judge to sentence an offender to between 40 and 240 hours work.
The offender must be 16 years or over to be considered and any Order made must be completed within a year.
Community Service is a direct alternative to a prison sentence and an Order made will only be made by the Judge where a custodial sentence has first been considered.
The Judge will ask the Probation Service to:
• complete an assessment as to whether the offender is suitable or not to do community service, and state whether there is work available to be completed.
A Probation Officer will interview the offender in preparing the report. The Judge will specify the sentence to be served if the person fails to complete the order. The number of hours per week to be worked is agreed with the Probation Officer.
It is the responsibility of the offender to complete the Community Service ordered. The Probation Officer is responsible for bringing the case back to Court for any failure by the offender to complete the Order.
The aim of Community Service is for offenders to pay back to the community in a positive way for the damage caused by offending. Every year thousands of unpaid hours of work are completed, benefiting many community and voluntary groups.
- What is Community Service?
- How Community Service Works
- Community Return
- Nominate a Community Service Project in your area
- How do I find out more about Community Service?
- Community Service in Action - Image Gallery