Savings from Use of Community Service Orders Should be Invested in Crime Prevention –O’Brien
Speaking in the Dáil today on the Criminal Justice Community Service Bill, Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien said money saved through the use of alternatives to prison should be reinvested in crime prevention measures such as the juvenile diversion programme. Deputy O’Brien also said victim impact statements should be part of the process of deciding whether someone is suitable for a community service order.
He said: “Undoubtedly an increased use of community service orders would lead to savings in the overall scheme of things. “The Value for Money analysis of the community service order scheme, carried out by the Department of Justice and Law Reform in 2009, demonstrated that the use of community service in lieu of prison would produce significant savings.
“The cost per community service order is estimated at approx. €4,295 per offender while the alternative costs of imprisonment are estimated to amount to approx. €27,478 per offender. “The state should not see these savings as a means to an end but as an opportunity to reinvest in crime preventions measures such as the juvenile diversion programme as well as increasing funding to the probation service to deal with the added number of reports this bill will create.”
Deputy O’Brien continued: “Every crime has a victim and the effect that the crime committed has had on the victim should and must be a central consideration when a judge is leaning towards the imposition of a community service order rather than a prison sentence. “We need to consider the inclusion of victim impact statements as part of the process in determining whether someone is suitable for a community service order.”
For further information or comment contact Deputy Jonathan O’Brien @ 085-2133907.