Chapter 5 Justice
SUMMARY OF PORTFOLIO RESPONSIBILITIES
The Justice portfolio has responsibility for the civil and criminal justice systems which include Scotland's prisons, courts, police, fire and rescue services, the legal aid system, tribunals and criminal justice social work services.
The purpose of the Justice portfolio is to create a safer and stronger Scotland where individuals and local communities flourish, enjoying a better quality of life and improved opportunities. The portfolio's work aims to support an inclusive and respectful society, where people live in safety and security, where individual and collective rights are supported and where disputes are resolved fairly and swiftly. As well as improving the daily lives of our people, this makes Scotland an attractive place to live, work and invest.
Table 5.01 Spending plans (Level 2)
| || 2012-13 |
| 2013-14 |
| 2014-15 |
| Community Justice Services || 31.3 || 31.8 || 32.3 |
| Courts, Judiciary and Scottish Tribunals Service || 52.4 || 52.1 || 51.6 |
| Criminal Injuries Compensation || 25.5 || 20.5 || 17.5 |
| Scottish Resilience || 17.9 || 14.0 || 14.0 |
| Legal Aid || 155.8 || 149.3 || 142.8 |
| Scottish Police Authority (SPA) || - || 1,085.5 || 1,040.6 |
| Scottish Fire and Rescue Service || - || 293.1 || 288.1 |
| Police Central Government || 242.4 || 115.8 || 106.1 |
| Drugs and Community Safety || 38.3 || 38.7 || 39.7 |
| Police and Fire Pensions || 281.9 || 291.8 || 309.8 |
| Scottish Prison Service || 400.6 || 364.5 || 398.7 |
| Miscellaneous || 17.9 || 16.2 || 16.8 |
| Scottish Court Service || 77.0 || 73.3 || 69.4 |
| Total Justice || 1,341.0 || 2,546.6 || 2,527.4 |
| of which: |
| DEL Resource || 1,228.6 || 2,466.5 || 2,443.3 |
| DEL Capital || 112.4 || 80.1 || 84.1 |
| AME || - || - || - |
| Central Government Grants to Local Authorities || 583.2 || 86.5 || 86.5 |
SUMMARY OF THE BUDGET CONTEXT
Improving outcomes for our people is the focus of all of the Scottish Government's work. Given that inequality and socio-economic factors are at the root of many criminal and civil justice problems, ranging from fire deaths to sectarianism, the Justice portfolio works in partnership with other portfolios to achieve results that could not be delivered alone.
To achieve better outcomes, all relevant people across the public sector must take responsibility and work together to prevent crime and social harm. In particular, this means working effectively across the public sector with children, young people and parents to reduce poverty and disadvantage, the major contributing factors to many Justice issues.
Where the Justice portfolio can contribute directly to improving outcomes, our focus is on ensuring that we live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger. Our aim is to deliver strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others. It is our intention to secure improved life chances for children, young people and families and public services that are high quality and responsive to people's needs.
The Scottish Government's public service reform agenda is central to achieving a safer and stronger Scotland. Scottish Ministers are implementing radical reform of the police and fire and rescue services to protect frontline services from financial cuts; and are undertaking the most radical transformation of the courts and tribunals system for at least a century through the Making Justice Work programme.
The justice system has a central role to play in promoting equality and tackling discrimination in Scotland, whether it is based on age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. It makes equality of access to justice essential. It also means that, for those found guilty of discrimination or causing harm, we must ensure that punishments are effective and proportionate. We must also consider when and how best to challenge and address discriminatory behaviour and practices, to better protect all members of Scottish society from future discrimination and harm.
These are significant and longstanding challenges. For example, victims of crime are concentrated disproportionately in communities that are disadvantaged. Young people (aged 16-24 years) are the most likely to be victims of crime. Younger people (aged 16-34 years) are also most likely to say that antisocial behaviour is a problem in their area, and have the most personal experience of neighbourhood problems and witnessing drunk and rowdy behaviour. Young people are also the most likely to be perpetrators of crime.
Challenges also exist in relation to perceptions of crime. For example, women are less likely than men to feel safe at night, both in their neighbourhoods and in their own homes, even though men are slightly more likely than women to be victims of crime. Similarly, disabled people and those with a long-standing health problem tend to feel less safe in their neighbourhoods than others, though survey evidence suggests that disabled people are no more likely to be victim of crime than non-disabled people.
There are also specific challenges in relation to the prison population. Although fewer women than men receive custodial sentences (7 per cent vs 14 per cent) and the custodial rate is higher for men in almost all categories of crime, the female prison population is increasing at a greater rate.
A review conducted by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research concluded that the increasing numbers of women in custody could not be explained by increased criminal activity amongst women, by women committing more serious crimes, or by increased prosecution of women. Instead, they concluded that the increase was more likely to be attributable to changes to sentencing powers and bail; an increased focus by government policy and criminal justice policy on the types of offences women are more likely to commit (e.g. drugs-related offences, common assault); and an overall upwards drift in use of custody and sentence length.
The Commission on Women Offenders also highlighted that women prisoners were very likely to have mental health problems (80 per cent), have no educational qualifications (71 per cent), have used drugs (71 per cent in the year before custody) or not have employment outside the home (39 per cent in the year before custody). The Commission argued that the evidence base justified the decision to develop proposals for a distinct and gender-specific approach to women offenders.
OVERVIEW OF 2013-14 BUDGET SPEND
During the Stage 3 debate for the 2012-13 Budget Bill, additional capital funding of £20 million was allocated in 2014-15 to the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), targeted towards the needs of Scotland's female prison population. With the exception of this funding, there are no substantive changes to the 2013-14 Budget plans as set out in the Spending Review in 2011.
A number of budget lines (including Police Central Government and Police and Fire Reform) have been presented differently to the 2011 Spending Review, and there are also a number of small financial transfers between portfolios. However, these do not in themselves represent changes to the overall distribution of spending.
EQUALITY ASSESSMENT OF 2013-14
With the exception of £20 million of additional capital budget for the Scottish Prison Service, there are no significant changes to the budgets published in last year's Spending Review. The previous Equality Assessment work therefore remains valid, though some more recent developments are noted below.
Police and Fire Reform
The evidence collected for the equality impact assessment of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill indicates that, in themselves, the provisions in the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill establishing the new services will not have adverse impacts on equality. However, the Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) identifies and summarises equality issues affecting communities and the workforce, which will need to be considered as part of the transition process, going forward.
Criminal Injuries Compensation
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme provides compensation for personal injuries attributable to violent crime, such as physical assaults or sexual offences. The Scottish Government provides funding to the scheme, which covers England, Scotland and Wales. The reduction in the budget for criminal injuries compensation reflects our best estimate of the effect of changes to the scheme being proposed by the UK Government. The Scottish Government is maintaining funding for victim support services which are often just as important in helping victims recover from the effects of serious crime. We are also proposing to introduce a victim surcharge which will create a new stream of revenue in future that will help to alleviate hardship and which we anticipate will directly benefit a number of groups affected by the changes to the current compensation scheme. In the medium term, we are looking at setting up a separate Scottish compensation scheme, the design of which will include an assessment of impact on equality groups. These measures, taken together, will help to mitigate the impact on equality groups identified in an EQIA of the UK Government's proposals.
Community Justice Services
A key development in this area since the last draft budget is that the Commission on Women Offenders has now reported. The Commission made a number of recommendations in relation to women offenders, and the Scottish Government's response set out how they would be addressed. Spend flowing from this response will be identified from within existing budgets, but the £20 million that has been allocated to SPS for women offenders will be a constituent part of that response.
We have also created a £7.5 million Reducing Reoffending Change Fund, which will take a person-centred approach to reintegration by providing offenders with substantial one-to-one support through evidence-based mentoring schemes. Our key target groups are women offenders and prolific male offenders. Prolific male offenders tend to receive short prison sentences and funding designed to increase the uptake of voluntary through-care should improve the outcomes for this group of men and their families. Working to rehabilitate women offenders, particularly those who have dependent children, cuts to the heart of preventative spending and early intervention, and ultimately to reductions in offending among future generations.
Scottish Prison Service
Following the Scottish Government's response to the report and recommendations of the Commission on Women Offenders, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is currently in the process of undertaking a consultation process prior to the Chief Executive submitting proposals to the Cabinet Secretary in the Autumn in respect of the location, size and nature of the recommended national unit for women offenders. This exercise is also being used to consult on proposals for the relocation of women offenders to local units across Scotland.
The main and immediate consequence of the consultation approach is that a considerable degree of uncertainty will remain, in relation to bringing forward a more comprehensive solution to the current difficulties. This can only be properly considered when the key issues have been distilled from the evidence gathered during the consultations. This unavoidable delay will affect the spend plans for the additional £20 million of capital funding, which is presently earmarked for the year 2014-15 only. However, in the short to medium term, SPS will continue to make progress with plans and schemes intended to improve the quality of life of the women offenders who are held at Cornton Vale.
Since the publication of the 2011 Spending Review, we have seen a number of significant achievements that will help to address equality issues. For example we have:
- taken a fresh approach to tackling sectarianism in different ways across society, from community projects meeting local needs and matching local circumstances, through to education projects and other initiatives which address the root causes of sectarianism;
- supported the setting up of a dedicated domestic abuse court in Edinburgh to provide further support for victims of domestic abuse and bring offenders to court quickly;
- introduced legislation that offers greater protection to victims of forced marriage in Scotland;
- begun to roll out across Scottish local authorities a project to tackle youth offending, which has seen a major reduction in crime committed by young people, holding them to account for their behaviour and stopping them following the wrong path into a life of crime;
- confirmed that a further £1 million of criminals' cash will be put back into community youth work projects over the next two years, bringing the total funds from the proceeds of crime allocated to youth work through the CashBack for Communities Fund to over £9 million;
- used CashBack funds to provide the Youth Community Support Agency, a Glasgow based charity, with £30k to establish a mentoring project to support young BME ex-offenders through learning and employment opportunities;
- established the Scottish Recovery Consortium so that the voices of people in recovery from addiction can be heard and stigmatising or discriminating behaviour challenged at all levels;
- introduced draft legislation to establish a Scottish Civil Justice Council and introduce financial contributions in criminal legal aid for those who can afford to pay, in order to protect access to justice for those who can't afford to pay; and
- carried out a consultation on our proposals to reform Scotland's tribunals highlighting our commitment to place users with their diverse needs at the centre of our improvement programme for the system.
The Justice portfolio has embedded consideration of equality issues into its policy development and monitoring mechanisms, including the establishment of equality networks and has sought to prioritise and protect service users, while minimising any negative impacts from spending changes on equality and disadvantaged groups. Three summary points from the portfolio are as follows:
- the main development since the previous draft budget is the allocation of an additional £20 million of capital funding to SPS. The findings, from an equality perspective, from SPS's consultation will be reported in next year's Equality Budget Statement;
- we will report to Parliament in October 2012 on progress towards implementing the recommendations made by the Commission for Women Offenders; and
- we are also planning to evaluate the impact of our expenditure on tackling sectarianism, and will report on progress in next year's Equality Budget Statement.