In this issue of Woman's Weekly - UK : I served as a magistrate for 10 years. It was challenging, fascinating and sometimes frustrating work. The justice system in this country unquestionably has its failings – as the recent trials and acquittals of high-profile figures accused of sexually related charges has highlighted – but it is also unquestionably staffed with dedicated, hardworking people who are operating in frequently difficult, and almost always horrendously stretched, circumstances. One of the questions I was most often asked during my time on the bench, was about the effectiveness of community service as a penalty. I’m sure you’re glad to know I’m not going to go into the pros and cons here. But what I will say is that our feature on page 10 is a great example of how that kind of sentence can not only make offenders pay a reparation to society for their wrongdoing, but also benefit communities in all sorts of positive ways. Lupton House – a beautiful Grade-II listed mansion in Devon – owes its restoration and current role as a thriving centre for the local community, partly to the work of convicted criminals serving community penalties.
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