Local Crime Community Sentence project
The Local Crime: Community Sentence project aims to raise awareness about the effectiveness of community sentences and improve public confidence in them.
It involves a member of staff from Norfolk & Suffolk Probation Trust and a magistrate giving an interactive presentation to local community groups. Choosing from prepared case studies, the presenters outine the circumstances surrounding an offence and ask the audience to decide whether the offender should be sent to prison or given a community order.
The presenters then introduce all the different elements magistrates consider before deciding upon a suitable punishment. They explain the purpose of sentencing - to rehabilitate and prevent re-offending, as well as to punish. Some time is spent discussing the detailed report probation officers compile on offenders, which looks at all aspects of their life and offending behaviour. The audience then learns exactly what a community sentence involves - how it uses up an offender's spare time, how tough such a sentence can be and how rigorously it is enforced.
The audience is told the decision of the court and asked whether they agree or disagree and if they changed their mind about their own initial sentencing option.
At all stages the presentation is interactive, with the audience asked for their opinion about what should happen. They are also encouraged to ask questions about the justice system involved.
Presentations are about an hour-and-a-half long and are free of charge. They can be arranged for during the day or in the evening. If you would like a presentation at your community group, please click here.