Last year, 633 local offenders on community work sentences did over 50,000 hours of unpaid work in and around Invercargill.

Under the watchful eye of their Corrections community work supervisors, they undertook a myriad local projects including helping maintain local schools, building bike tracks, cleaning public spaces, and planting and maintaining parks and recreation areas; all as a means of giving something back to the community against which they offended.

Some key projects included supporting the Department of Conservation with work at the Bluff Gunpit and at Forrest Hill.

The historic gunpit site is a popular tourist attraction in Bluff overlooking Fouveau Strait, where offenders cleared the track and spruced up the gun emplacement with a coat of paint. At the Forrest Hill walkway, offenders tidied and beautified the track alongside DoC staff.

Community work is a sentence that requires offenders to complete unpaid work in the community, as a way of making up for their offending.  The sentence gives offenders an opportunity to give something back to their community, and learn new skills and work habits.

Schools, community and sports groups are always very thankful for the help they receive.

“Many community organisations we work with depend on the support of volunteers and are on extremely tight budgets,” says Southern Region Commissioner Ben Clark.

According to Ben: “Community work is not only valued by the community, but offenders get a great sense of achievement from the work they do.”