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Community Work: Fewer and fewer turning up

Community Work: Fewer and fewer turning up

Only 40% of people sentenced to community work bother turning up, according to latest official figures, says National MP Tony Ryall.

Last week Mr Ryall released figures for November that showed an average of 46% of offenders were reporting to centres around the country. He has now obtained figures for the first week of March this year.

"Things are getting worse. In the first week of March, only 20% of offenders turned up in parts of Christchurch, 22% in Manurewa and 23% in Masterton", he says.

"Here are burglars, wife-beaters and shoplifters, sentenced to community work as punishment, all thumbing their noses at the justice system and their victims. "Why would anyone take this sentence seriously when so few people actually turn up and do their time? "The Minister confessed in Parliament today that staff in the department were concerned about the integrity of the reporting information. There's something awry with the system when one office can report a "compliance rate" of 73% when only 27% of people turned up!

"With no weekly minimum, and one to two years to complete their sentences, it is easy for offenders to ignore their sentence. "Urgent changes are needed to give Corrections staff the power to require that a minimum number of community work hours per week be completed, and to impose immediate penalties", said Mr Ryall.

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