Community justice in action

Unpaid workers give back at Christmas.

Teams serving community payback orders (CPOs) have been making Christmas wreaths for sale to support people’s mental health over the festive season.

Unpaid workers in Fife have been raising money for mental health charity the Samaritans through the sale of wreaths made from foraged local materials. 

Justice Secretary Keith Brown welcomed the initiative as demonstrating the positive impact that CPOs can have not only for people with convictions, but for their wider local communities in the run up to Christmas.

He said: “This is a time of year when people’s mental health can be more greatly impacted and it’s good to see this recognised in the work carried out by people on community payback orders. 

“Of course many people in the justice system struggle with mental health problems, so it is particularly heartening to see the active contributions that this group of unpaid workers have been making to their community – and to charity.

“Community sentences, with supervision and other conditions where necessary, add structure and help people make the positive changes needed to tackle the causes of their behaviour.

“Our reforms to community-based sentences, in particular as an alternative to short spells in prison for less serious offences, is a key element of Scotland’s modern justice system – which in recent years has seen record low reconviction rates that in turn help keep crime down and communities safe, with fewer victims.”

Fife Council's service manager Lisa McCran said:

"This project is a great example of how our service users can help raise funds for a local charity and give something back to the community through unpaid work.

"Unfortunately, for some service users poor mental health is not uncommon, so this was also an opportunity to give back to those organisations who give help and support locally and nationally." 

Community Justice Scotland chief executive, Karyn McCluskey, said:

“Communities in Scotland have benefitted from more than 8 million hours of unpaid work since 2011. This has led to extraordinary change across the country.

“Crime is reducing and organisations and people across Scotland are making a difference day in day out. We know we have more to do, but we have shown great change is possible if we work together and strive for a safer society with wellbeing for all.”


  • The Scottish Government has put in place a wide range of measures focussed on reducing reoffending, including a key commitment to encouraging a reduction in short-term prison sentences. The most recent official statistics for Reconviction rates, show that short prison sentences are less effective at reducing the likelihood of reoffending than CPOs, which are designed to address the underlying causes of offending behaviour.
  • Individuals pay back to the community or fulfil other requirements decided on by the court while addressing the underlying causes of their offending behaviour. The reconviction rate for those given CPOs in 2018-2019 was 29.2% compared to 51.7% for custodial sentences of 12 months or less.


Media enquiries

Back to top