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Community service is a sentencing option that is as old as the idea of sentencing itself.  It involves the offender undertaking work to make up for the wrongs committed.  Nowadays the offender is no longer offered as a slave labourer to the victim, but the offence is seen as having been against the community as a whole.  The "hard labour" to which the offender is sentenced is meant to give something back to the community.

It is therefore important that community service as a sentence should involve work that is serious enough to act as a punishment  and deterrent (it should have the effect of people thinking twice before offending).  It should also be of a nature that really gives something back to the community.

While it seems simple enough, there is a lot of organisation and administration involved in community service work, and this is why it is not always easy to manage such projects.  As a result the sentence does not work very well as a sentence and the community doesn't see the benefit.  Once that happens there is not much point in using community work as a sentence and as a result the number of people sentenced to it goes down.  This then makes the projects harder to complete, which lowers the visible effect, which makes it less attractive as a sentence and so on.

Because this is what was happening on Mornington, Junkuri Laka has stepped in and it will be coordinating and managing community service work so it can be a better commitment and service to the community.  Because Junkuri Laka's Community Justice Group makes recommendations to the court about sentencing, it can also explain to judges that this is again available as a good sentence alternative.  In this way we hope to get more people sentenced to community service instead off being given big fines or even going to jail.  We will also be able to organise worthwhile projects, such as maintaining the festival grounds, cleaning old people's yards, tidying up the beaches, cutting grass on the cemetery and so on.

We will soon be posting photographs of our projects on this website.