COMMUNITY punishment, where offenders are sentenced to carry out unpaid community work as reparation for their crime, has just been made tougher in Cheshire.
As part of the drive to crack down on reoffending and to make communities safer, Enhanced Community Punishment has been introduced with a much stronger emphasis on rehabilitation.
In addition to doing unpaid work, offenders, especially those without jobs, will be taught basic and key skills and problem solving to help them find work.
They will also be given high quality work placements and opportunities to benefit their own communities.
A group of offenders learned several new skills on a recent project in Chester city centre. As part of a crime and disorder project, these offenders worked on refurbishing one of the city centre's most heavily used car parks.
Painting the ceiling and walls white has greatly improved the light in the car park, making it considerably safer.
Martin Narey, the national Commissioner for Correctional Services, visited and saw some of the work being undertaken.
He said: 'I saw much which impressed me. In particular, the painting of the multi-storey car park was saving the public purse a lot on money while, simultaneously, making the car park much safer.'