Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 13:10 UK

Judge criticises community orders

A judge has said he despairs about the effectiveness of community sentences because they "just don't work".

Judge Peter Jacobs spoke at Norwich Crown Court when sentencing David Neal for failing to complete service orders imposed for a variety of offences.

He said he was stuck between a rock and a hard place - on the one hand prisons were full and on the other community service was not working.

Sentencing of Neal, 19, from Mundesley, Norfolk, was then delayed until 2 June.

"I just despair of the number of these community orders that just don't work," Judge Jacobs said.

"Judges like me are put in between a rock and a hard place.

"We are told prisons are full... and the reality is we bend over backwards to give these community orders and too often they don't work.

"Nobody ever seems to want to take responsibility for this fundamental problem."

The judge was informed that Neal, who had admitted a string of offences including dangerous driving, destroying property, assault and theft, had failed to complete his community service penalties as required.

Judge Jacobs said Neal must work as required by the order or go to prison, adding: "It's as simple as that."

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