Community Orders: Coronavirus

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 6th December 2022.

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Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with the Courts and Probation Service on ensuring that community sentences handed out since the covid-19 pandemic will be fully enforced.

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

As with other public services, probation had to find alternative ways of working during the pandemic.

Where offenders fail to engage with requirements, we take robust steps to enforce sentences and return them to court for breach.

For unpaid work, one of the key community sentence requirements, we are investing an additional £90m over this and the next 2 years to increase staffing levels and delivering significantly more hours of work – a target of 8 million a year compared to 5 million before the pandemic.

We have also invested £195m to procure over 120 contracts across England and Wales with charities and private sector organisations to deliver specialist services in partnership with probation, to support rehabilitation. These services include:

  • accommodation support,

  • education,

  • training and employment,

  • finance, debt and benefits, and

  • support to address drug dependency.

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