Community Payback workshop tackles reoffending

Unpaid community work

Community Payback workshop

Offenders' serving community payback orders in North Lanarkshire are rehabilitating and learning bike and refurbishing skills, helping local school children and improving their employment opportunities.

Run by the council's Restorative Justice team, the refurbished workshop was officially opened by Convener of Social Work Barry McCulloch and Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.

Offenders' involved in the programme are learning to fix old bicycles rescued from recycling centres and put them back on the roads and playgrounds for primary pupils to do their cycling proficiency. Offenders are also learning to carry out home improvements and woodwork skills at the specially designed workshop in Bellshill.

Councillor Barry McCulloch said: "The refurbishment of our Community Payback workshop highlights our commitment to tackling some of the causes of offending and giving people the chance to learn from their mistakes and develop their skills base.

"Those serving payback orders are given the chance to build on their rehabilitation, develop new skills while giving something back to local communities.

The workshop supervisors have undertaken specialist training enabling them to teach and train the offenders in the programme the skills of the trades. The offenders' learn about workshop safety, tools, redecorating, woodwork and teamwork.

Justice secretary Michael Matherson Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "Paying back to the community is at the heart of our approach to community justice. Visiting CPO projects first-hand - like those supported by the excellent new Bellshill CPO workshop in North Lanarkshire - shows the benefits they bring, not only to the local community but also to the people doing the unpaid work.

"The evidence clearly demonstrates short prison sentences do little to rehabilitate or reduce reoffending. On the other hand, community sentences make a big difference. They give people a chance to break the cycle of offending while ensuring they pay back for the damage their actions have caused."

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