Criminal justice workshops planned

More facilities for unpaid work as a criminal punishment are to open in the region.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has already opened two workshops for unpaid work in Dumfries and Stranraer and now the Social Work Committee has been told of plans to open more facilities around the region.

The Scottish government introduced legislation to develop community sentences, replacing probation and community service orders with community payback orders, which include an unpaid work requirement, so facilities for this are essential.

Staff moved into the Dumfries workshop in October 2010 and the Stranraer facility opened in June 2012.

There was an allocation of £2.533 million for the work. Councillors heard that facilities in Annan, Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart are expected to cost around £600,000 of the £1.004 million balance from this total, leaving £404,000 as a contingency against increased costs and for possible development of a facility in Upper Nithsdale. The new units are modular in design and will have storage areas for equipment alongside offices and welfare facilities for staff and offenders.

Chair of Social Work Committee, Councillor Andy Ferguson, said: “Planning for Annan, Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart units is underway with designs nearly ready and an expected completion date of spring 2013.

“The new bases allow Criminal Justice Social Work staff to provide vocational training and opportunities for offenders to learn new skills, which assist in stopping their reoffending. The unpaid work teams are frequently praised for their work.

“We are offering local people the opportunity to tell Criminal Justice what kind of unpaid work could be done in their area by filling in a survey. Please let us have your views. ”

You can find the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8FZJQ8X