Prevention central to new Scottish Government community justice strategy
The Scottish Government has published a strategy for delivering the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016
Michael Matheson - Image credit: Scottish Government Flickr
Prevention is central to the Scottish Government’s new strategy for community justice, published this week.
The strategy aims to prevent and reduce offending through early intervention, identifying the reasons why people offend and helping offenders to reintegrate into the community after custody.
This is to be achieved through greater use of community-based sentences, such community payback orders and electronic monitoring, and a reduction in short-term prison sentences.
It is also intended to strengthen the way public services, charities and communities work together to reduce and prevent offending.
The strategy forms part of changes to the way community justice is delivered, which come into effect from April 2017 following the passing of the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 in February this year.
Accompanying the strategy is an Outcomes, Performance and Improvement Framework, with seven outcomes to measure improvement.
When preparing local community justice outcomes improvement plans statutory partners – which include councils, health boards, integration joint boards, the chief constable of Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and Scottish ministers – must work with relevant third sector organisations and community bodies.
Matheson said: “Our vision of an inclusive society must be supported by a progressive justice system that works with communities to both prevent and reduce offending.
“Early intervention is the key to preventing crime in Scotland’s communities and tackling social inequality is at the heart of our new approach.
“Better access to welfare, housing, health and education will all help break the cycle of crime and keep our communities safe.
“By improving our community justice system we are offering more chances for people to tackle the underlying reasons for their offending and reduce the chances of them going on to offend again.”
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