MP says offenders should face full week of hard work

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LOCAL MP Steve Barclay has welcomed Government proposals for tougher community sentences following his work as part of a cross party committee of MPs.

Mr Barclay is a member of the Public Accounts Committee which recently highlighted serious failings in the community sentence regime for youth offenders.

As part of the Government’s response to the committee’s findings, and following the recent riots, it has been announced that all offenders will be made to do a full five-day week of hard work. The work will include manual labour such as improving public areas by clearing up litter, cleaning graffiti and maintaining parks and other green spaces.

The new rules will see unemployed criminals forced to work a minimum of 28 hours over four days, with the fifth day spent looking for full-time employment. As well as giving something back to communities affected by crime, they will help bring structure to offenders’ lives. This will encourage them back into the routine of hard and meaningful work.

The Public Accounts Committee report on Youth Justice to which Mr Barclay contributed found that current community sentencing was failing with young people more likely to re-offend after a community penalty than in 2000. In addition it has found there had been little work done on establishing which of the current programmes were most effective.

Mr Barclay said: ‘I am pleased to see the government addressing the failing in community sentences as identified by the Public Accounts Committee amongst others. People want to see offenders punished for their crimes as well as giving back to the community. They should be made to work the full five-day week that decent, law-abiding citizens do, rather than idly waste their lives without the self respect that work helps to play a part in fostering’.