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Push for community service sentences to save €17m

The government is pushing for more community service sentences to be given out over jail time in the hope of saving the public purse millions.

Image: so_meow via Creative Commons

JUDGES WILL BE required to consider meting out community service orders for minor offences instead of jail terms, the Press Association reports.

The Cabinet has signed off on new laws that will force judges to consider Community Service Orders (CSOs) for minor offences in a bid to save the exchequer up to €17m. However, the measure will also have to be voted in by the Dáil before it can become law, the Irish Examiner reports.

The Examiner quotes the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, who said that the CSOs would be considered mainly for those in violation of traffic laws, engaging in vandalism, or for the non-payment of fines – he admitted that the main drive would be to saving resources for the prison system.

He said:

At the moment about 7,500 crimes that are committed lead to imprisonment of up to six months and 70% of all the people in jails are in prison for up to six months. So if you take even 10% of that 7,500 are put into community service, that will be a saving of somewhere in the region of €17m.

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