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Footpaths to pathways

Jul 20, 2009

Tony Mulder is the Police Commissioner/Alderman of Bellerive, Tasmania, Australia. He writes in his blog:

Alderman Tony Mulder has called for a change to Community Service Orders (CSO) for young offenders.

Alderman Mulder’s call was prompted by his apprehension of two youths in the act of vandalising the bus shelter near Rosny College on Sunday night.

“I’ve given the matter some thought”, Ald Mulder said “and current CSO tasks like painting out graffiti do not provide a pathway toward social re-engagement.” Instead, Ald Mulder suggests compulsory attendance at a pre-apprenticeship TAFE course. “If they don’t engage, it is no different to a CSO, but if they commit, they gain a pre-apprenticeship qualification and important employment and life skills.”

The practical aspects of the ‘Certificate 1 in Building and Construction’ involve site preparation, layout, formwork and concreting for a footpath and a ‘pathway’ to an apprenticeship or a career as a builder’s labourer. Each year Council allocates $1M a year to footpath reconstruction and could add a further incentive to the program by offering qualified youths a proper wage to do a few weeks work on a footpath project, preferably in their own neighbourhood.

This would be a win all round, young people would be given an opportunity to engage with society and pick up important employment skills that are in short supply and understand the relationship of reward for effort, while the city gains much needed footpaths and reduced vandalism as youthful energy is re-directed towards more constructive purposes.

“This is genuine restorative justice” Alderman Mulder said, “Footpaths to pathways.”

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