Yet another govt. attempt to get popularPublic to vote on punishments
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
A website will allow the public to vote on community service schemes for criminals.
Users will be able to suggest what work they want offenders to carry out in their area. The most popular will be adopted by the probation service.
The Ministry of Justice said the pilots, which cover 54 areas, will give the public a say in punishments. The Tories called for proper sentences for criminals, not "gimmicks".
The changes are aimed at encouraging more public involvement in the justice system and follow the launch of high-visibility jackets for criminals last year.
More than 55,000 criminals carry out community service every year. A MORI poll carried out by the Justice department found the public want offenders to do outdoor manual work such as cleaning the streets and removing graffiti.
Justice Secretary Jack Straw said: "It's crucial that the public - the taxpayer - has a say in what community punishments offenders receive.
"People have a right to know what offenders are doing in their neighbourhood to repay for the wrongs committed.
"We are determined to open up the justice system. Recent steps to do this include the appointment of a dedicated Victims Champion, giving distinctive orange jackets to offenders and now ensuring the public knows they have a say in punishing offenders."
Shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve said: "The public wants to see justice done with proper sentences that fit the crime, not gimmicks from ministers who have undermined the criminal justice system by releasing prisoners early and relying too heavily on ineffective out of court sanctions."