21 April 2009>
There is only 1 day left to vote on your favourite project to be cleaned up by offenders paying back for their crimes in the Caerphilly county borough.
The public can log onto the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership website or call 01443 866566 to decide which project they think will be of most benefit to the community. Voting ends this Friday.
The shortlisted areas are:
- Forsythia Close, Elm Drive and Manor Way, Ty Sign, Risca
- Penllwyn, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood
- Churchill Park, Caerphilly
- Apollo Way, Blackwood
This campaign, to explain how the public can have their say on the work offender's carry out on Community Payback, was launched on 30 March by Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
It followed the launch of branded high visibility jackets for offenders on Community Payback in December last year.
In 54 Neighbourhood Crime & Justice Pioneer Areas of which the Caerphilly county borough is included, the public are for the first time able to vote on which of 5 schemes offenders will start first. The winning projects will be announced in June.
The scheme is being promoted in local newspapers and on local radio and also explains how, across the country, the public can suggest other projects offenders should undertake throughout the year. These could include renovating community centres, clearing undergrowth and cleaning off graffiti for local communities.
Community Safety Manager, Howard Rees said, "Community Safety Manager, Howard Rees said, "I am delighted that the Caerphilly county borough has been chosen as a pioneer area for the "Justice Seen, Justice Done" campaign, part of which involves highly visible community payback activity.
Although sentencing is tougher now than in the past, research suggests that members of the public often do not believe that offenders face adequate consequences for the crimes they commit.
By working with our partners at Gwent Probation Service, we are ensuring that justice is being seen to be done – the fact that offenders now have to wear highly visible orange jackets when carrying out community payback is an important step in helping to make our local residents aware that offenders are facing tough consequences for their actions and that community payback isn't a soft option."
At the launch Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw said, "It's crucial that the public - the taxpayer - has a say in what community punishments offenders receive. People have a right to know what offenders are doing in their neighbourhood to repay for the wrongs committed.
We are determined to open up the justice system. Recent steps to do this include the appointment of a dedicated Victims Champion, giving distinctive orange jackets to offenders and now ensuring the public knows they have a say in punishing offenders."
Branded high-visibility jackets were launched in December last year for offenders to wear whilst carrying out work on Community Payback. The roll-out of the new jackets across England and Wales built on a recommendation from Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Adviser Louise Casey's review, 'Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime', published in June last year outlining the importance of Justice seen, Justice done.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, "It is vital that the public see that we are taking action to tackle the crimes that concern them most. Justice must be seen to be done.
Community Payback is an important part of that process. By making it possible for the public to have their say on which projects offenders should carry out in their communities we are showing that we are on the side of the law abiding majority and not the offenders."
Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Adviser Louise Casey said, "The public want to know that criminals are made to pay back for their crimes. Community Payback schemes make this a reality and, very importantly, they also now give the public a say in what criminals must actually do to serve their punishment and pay back to local communities."
Courts are now able to hand out tougher and more intense penalties for a range of offenders who are ordered to carry out work in the community.
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