Offenders unpaid work benefits Mid Ulster community

Cheryl Lamont, chief executive of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland.
Picture By: Arthur Allison; Pacemaker.
Cheryl Lamont, chief executive of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland. Picture By: Arthur Allison; Pacemaker.

Figures compiled for 2016/17 by Probation show that offenders on Community Service in the Mid Ulster and Armagh area have completed 14,300 hours of unpaid work to benefit local communities.

That is over £107,250 worth of work to help local communities in Armagh, Dungannon, Cookstown and Magherafelt.

Probation’s Chief Executive, Cheryl Lamont said, “Probation works by changing lives for safer communities and Community Service is a key element in our work. It is a visible and practical method of ensuring offenders pay something back to the community while helping them to develop skills they can use in the future which will prevent them continuing in a cycle of crime.

Community Service is one of the most successful court sentences in terms of preventing re-offending. Three out of four people who complete community service do not re-offend within one year. Over the past seven years this has translated into over one million hours of unpaid work, worth over seven million pounds, invested into local communities, across Northern Ireland.”

Probation Area manager for Mid Ulster, Ruth McKelvey said, “We supervise offenders working on a range of projects including environmental clean ups, painting and decorating community premises, grass cutting, and maintenance. These projects have included Benburb Priory, Manor House Moneymore, Dungannon Youth Resource centre, Cookstown Community Cancer Care, Cancer Research Dungannon, Barnardos Cookstown, and The Lurach Centre Maghera.

“We also work with Mid Ulster District Council and provide assistance through Policing and Community Safety Partnerships to develop projects that target the effects of criminal and anti-social behaviour through graffiti removal or neighbourhood clean ups.”

She added that many communities within the Mid Ulster area have benefitted as a result.