Criminals giving back thousands of hours to the community

SUNSHINE Coast criminals have completed 6051 hours of community service across the region in the past six months.

This represents $110,975.34 in unpaid labour afforded organisations across the region.

The figure is based on the Queensland Social and Community Service Award minimum wage of $18.34 per hour.

Community service is a sentencing option open to magistrates and judges and can be imposed for fraud and theft or traffic, vehicle and property-related offences.

Queensland Corrective Services figures reveal people sentenced to a community service order are predominantly male and, on average, aged 27.

A spokesman for Attorney-General Yvette D'ath said a community service order was one of a suite of sentencing measures available to be used at the court's discretion.

"Over the years they have helped to maintain and improve sporting venues, cemeteries and parks, sorted recyclable items for resale by charities and assisted in food preparation and laundry services for residential care establishments," he said.

Adult offenders can be ordered to perform between 40 and 240 hours of community service, depending on their crime and whether they are deemed suitable to perform the tasks.

But children under 15 who appear before a court can only be made to do between 20 and 100 hours community service, irrespective of their crimes. People can also apply to do community service instead of paying a fine.

A Queensland Corrective Services spokesman said the purpose of community service was to provide offenders with the opportunity to give back to the community. He said Queensland Corrective Services had partnered with a number of not-for-profit to supervise offenders performing unpaid community service work.

"Community service also assists offenders in re-establishing positive work attitudes and regaining self-worth," he said.

APN Newsdesk requested year-on-year community service figures but was told the information was unavailable.

- ADAM DAVIES

Community service

October 2014: 1109.5

November 2014: 970.25

December 2014: 777.25

January 2015: 952

February 2015: 828.5

March 2015: 1413.5


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