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Essex Probation

Community Payback Explained

Offenders are sentenced to thousands of Unpaid Work hours by the courts every year. Repaying local communities for their crimes, offenders do work that benefits the area and which is frequently nominated by local people. Community Payback is not intended to replace paid employment. It also complements work done by local authorities and voluntary organisations. Learn more about the kind of work done in the past in Essex by downloading the Community Payback Annual Report.

Additional benefits

Working with the police and local councils to identify local ‘hot-spots’, we can improve them to the point that anti-social behaviour, which often accompanies poorly-maintained communal areas, is seriously reduced.

Although CP is primarily a punishment, the practical and vocational skills learned by offenders while completing their hours can make them more employable and less likely to reoffend.

More intensive work

Where offenders are not in full-time work, education or training, they can be subject to ‘intensive working’ (the more demanding and punitive sentence which requires attendance for a minimum of 18 hours per week, over three days). In Essex we aim for a four-day week, increasing the sense of a paid working situation, and improving the offender’s work ethic.

Community Payback  - Knee Deep in Mud


Anyone can nominate a project, so, if you are an individual, member of a club, community group, faith group or voluntary organisation and have a project that fits the criteria above, please complete the form or call your local probation office click here for details.

‘Community Service’ was first introduced in the 1970s but has come a long way since then. However, the key components are still the same. Offenders are required to give up their free time to undertake Unpaid Work within their local communities to pay back for the crimes they have committed. In most cases this equates to a day’s work once a week.

Women Offenders: forklift truck training

To learn more about this interesting work, visit our Community Payback: Great Results page, and our Case Studies archive.