One in four failed to complete community sentence

ONE in four criminals in West Sussex failed to complete their community service last year.

Figures released in Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust’s Community Payback Annual Report show that in West Sussex there was a completion rate of just 72 per cent.

There were 750 completions and 1,037 terminations, the report said. This compares to a 73 per cent completion for Brighton, 80 per cent for Surrey and 81 per cent in East Sussex. The trust had a total completion rate of 77 per cent in 2010.

However in the Horsham district the rate was higher, at 81 per cent, the Horsham District Community Safety Partnership told the County Times.

Natalie Brahma-Pearl, chairman of the partnership, said: “In regard to the Community Payback Scheme, the Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust Annual report 2010 details a successful completion rate of 72 per cent for West Sussex compared to the overall trust’s completion rate of 77 per cent.

“Upon further exploration with our Probation Trust colleagues, the completion rate for Horsham district is 81 per cent, which is as high as anywhere else across the Surrey or Sussex areas.

“The Community Safety Partnership values the work of the Probation Trust in managing these sentences which have a huge benefit to our communities across the district.

“Looking ahead, the trust is committed to continuously improving the quality of their service and we are confident that this will include building on the current completion rate levels.”

The trust’s chief executive Sonia Crozier said in the report: “In the early part of the year, our work was inspected by Ofsted as part of an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation. They focused on how well we enabled offenders to develop their skills while undertaking Community Payback.

“This is important as we know that if an unemployed offender gets into work then they will become more re-integrated into society and the likelihood of their re-offending will be reduced.

“Ofsted commented that the management and development of Community Payback was good and that it provided opportunities for offenders to access a range of activities.

“We are very aware that, as this report is being written, decisions are being made about the contractual arrangements for the delivery of Community Payback. It is expected that there will be a national tendering process later this year.

“Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust is taking a close interest in this process as we are determined that the future provision will be the best possible for the courts and communities of Surrey and Sussex.”