Government investing to reduce reoffending
Funding has been awarded by the Scottish Government to 23 organisations working across Scotland to help break the cycle of reoffending.
In a decisive shift towards preventative spending, the Reducing Reoffending Change Fund was one of three change funds created by the Scottish Government to invest in prevention.
The Scottish Government has allocated £7.5m for the fund to invest in reducing reoffending programmes from now until March 2015.
Today’s announcement, by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, marks the first round of investments made from the fund, totalling £1.5m. Grants ranging from £6,656 to £200,000 are being distributed to a range of organisations across Scotland which run, or are designing, mentoring schemes to steer offenders away from crime.
This includes helping offenders adjust after being released from custody, comply with court orders, tackle alcohol and drug misuse and return to employment.
Mr MacAskill said:
“I am delighted that this fund is being distributed to a wide range of organisations, which provide a range of services but are all working towards the same aim of reducing the vicious circle of reoffending.
“While reconviction rates in Scotland are now at their lowest level in the past 13 years, reoffending rates upon release remain unacceptably high, and the effects on family members can be devastating. Too often we see repeat offenders in and out of prison time and time again.
“It’s a vicious circle which does nothing to improve our communities. But we know that mentoring can and does play a role in helping offenders to change their ways.
“These organisations benefiting today are already carrying out innovative and valuable work in their communities to help individuals move on from their criminal past.
“Earlier this week, I visited Sacro in Edinburgh to hear about the success of their mentoring service. I met a female service user who told me about the confidence she has gained from working with a Sacro mentor, and has used that to turn her life around and aim towards gaining qualifications.
“Sacro are one of the recipients benefiting today and this money will enable them to expand their good work and work with more service users to help improve their lives and keep them on the straight and narrow.”
Tom Halpin, Chief Executive of Sacro, said:
“Sacro warmly welcomes the Scottish Government's award of Reducing Reoffending Change Fund monies.
“This funding will help Sacro expand its Women's Mentoring Services and also lay the foundations for a Public Social Partnership, which will develop women's mentoring nationally.
“These vital services provide important support to vulnerable women by re-connecting them with their communities and families. The Scottish Government's focus on preventative spending in this area is to be commended.”
Applications for funding were considered by a decision-making group comprising representatives from the Scottish Government’s Community Justice Division, Third Sector Unit and Justice Analytical Services; the Scottish Prison Service; the Association of Directors of Social Work and The Robertson Trust.