Monday, December 01, 2008

Let's See How This Pans Out

I commented on this wheeze some time ago, in this post. I remain sceptical about its usefulness except as a sop to the tabloids.
As it happens I had a short chat the other day with a young man who told me that he had just finished 180 hours of unpaid work, to which he had been sentenced for a second, and high-level, drink-drive. I asked him how he had found the experience, and he said that it had had a major impact on his free time (180 hours is about six months of Saturdays). He had been placed in a local charity shop, and had helped with various tasks such as sorting stock, cleaning, a bit of painting, and serving customers. He said that he had found it worthwhile, and that he had felt that he was doing a job that needed to be done. I was very interested in this, because we get next to no feedback on community orders - I have not been able to fix a visit to a project for over ten years, which is quite wrong. Just one thing though - would it really have helped if this man had been forced to wear a fluorescent tabard while working in the shop? Would the shop have accepted that? Would it help his rehabilitation?

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