Dutch offenders recognisable while performing community service

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Dutch offenders who have been ordered to perform community service will in future have to wear a vest with the text “At work for society” and the logo of the probation and after-care service.

The service’ director Sjef van Gennip has confirmed reports to that effect published in national newspaper De Telegraaf on Saturday. He said that : “ Society has a distorted view of community service orders. Making offenders wear these vests is intended to show that they are also capable of doing other things.” Mr Van Gennip said it was certainly not his intention to ‘name and shame’ offenders under community service orders.

He added that the public is enthusiastic about the new approach. Mr Van Gennip said this became clear in a number of pilots carried out in different regions. The director of the probation and after-care service said reactions in the UK, where this policy was introduced a number of months ago, had also been positive.

In addition to making offenders wear vests, they are also to perform their community service quickly. Last week, about 20 people arrested at a fun fair in the town of Tilburg visibly performed community service at the fair ground.

Each year, about 30,000 Dutch offenders are ordered by the courts to perform community service.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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