29 Dec 2009

More in court over community work breaches

3:11 pm on 29 December 2009

The Corrections Department took court action against more than 9,600 people this year for failing to report for community work - an increase of more 1,300 on last year.

The department's figures show it took 9,646 people to court for breaching community work sentences in 2009, compared to 8,300 in 2008.

While the number of such cases is on the rise, the department says the percentage increase has remained steady for the past two years at 15%.

General manager for probation and psychological services, Katrina Casey, says the increase is partly due to more people are being sentenced to community work.

In any given week, more than 18,000 offenders have active instructions to report for community work, and Ms Casey stresses the vast majority complete their sentence successfully.

She says court action is being used to get those offenders who breach the rules back on track, and the figures demonstrate that probation officers are doing their jobs properly.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesperson Alan Monk says it's still a high proportion of offenders who are thumbing their noses at penalties handed down by the court.

He says offenders who break the rules more than once should be sent straight to prison.