MP YVETTE Cooper visited Pontefract’s Horsefair flats last week to take a closer look at the work being done by a team of offenders who are transforming the complex as part of a community payback project.
The group are working with officers from Pontefract and Knottingley neighbourhood policing team to paint the corridors of the flats, covering up graffiti which has blighted the buildings for many years.
The Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton MP talked to the offenders, and members of West Yorkshire Probation Trust, about the community payback scheme.
Ms Cooper said: “When people commit crimes or cause damage to the local area, they should be expected to pay something back to the local community as part of their punishment. The work the probation service is doing on community payback is really important.”
Members of the Wakefield probation team also discussed a new community order for serial offenders which will be launched in July. The Intensive Community Order (ICO) will be available to courts as an alternative to prison sentences of less than 12 months.
The new order will involve meetings with the probation service, offenders answering victims’ questions, and unpaid community work.
Imogen Johnson, Wakefield Probation’s team manager, said: “ICOs allow meaningful, intensive work to address the reasons behind offending behaviour, something rarely possible with a short prison sentence.
“They can help offenders stay in control of other responsibilities which could be lost if they are ordered to go to prison, including keeping jobs and continuing to contribute to their family lives.”