A damning report has condemned failures in the SNP’s soft-touch community service scheme.
Inspectors said there was no evidence criminals were rehabilitated by Community Payback Orders.
An investigation of Scottish Borders Council found evidence of poor leadership of the CPO scheme.
It warned the authority was ‘unable to demonstrate what difference they [CPOs] were making to the life chances of individuals’.
There was a lack of oversight and no systems in place for managers to ‘gather performance information’, it said.
Staff administering CPOs described working in a ‘forgotten service’.
The Care Inspectorate findings will fuel concern as the Justice Secretary prepares to drive thousands more thieves, house-breakers, drug dealers and sex offenders onto CPOs by designating jail terms of a year or less a ‘last resort’ from this summer.
Commenting, Liam said:
"This is simply the latest damning criticism of the SNP’s implementation of community payback orders.
"It’s clear this system is broken when so many orders don’t involve work or activity, drug treatment and testing orders are routinely abandoned and it can take months for the work orders to begin.
"The SNP’s soft touch justice is letting many criminals back out onto the streets without any meaningful punishment - that’s an appalling insult to victims."