Funding to help reduce reoffending

Posted in: General News

Up to £1 million pledged to support work of voluntary organisations.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has announced a near £1 million funding package for three leading voluntary organisations working to reduce reoffending in Scotland.

The funding will allow Apex Scotland, SACRO and Families Outside to continue to deliver a range of specialist services in 2015/16 for offenders and their families, helping to stop the cycle of reoffending.

The work of the three organisations includes targeted action to address underlying issues which fuel crime, help with employment, rehabilitation, as well as support to ensure family links are maintained so that the children of offenders do not go down the wrong path in life.

Families Outside estimate that 27,000 children lose a parent to imprisonment each year.

Last month, the Justice Secretary announced that plans for a new women’s prison at Inverclyde will not go ahead as he wants to pursue a bolder, more ambitious approach for Scotland.

Today, Mr Matheson confirmed that a series of local engagement events will take place across the country next month to allow all those with an interest to give their views on the future of female offending as part of an on-going consultation on delivering a more radical plan for Scotland.

Speaking following a meeting with the Families Outside charity who received a 15 per cent increase in funding, Mr Matheson said:

“When it comes to the justice system, we must be smarter with the choices we make and be more sophisticated in the way in which we deal with offenders in Scotland.

“We need to do everything we can to break the cycle of reoffending and end the revolving door to our prisons which sees low level offenders going in and out of prisons time and time again. Scotland can do better and we can be bolder in our approach.

“We need to look at the wider picture of offending, ensuring for example, that links to the family and community can be maintained, whilst targeted work is undertaken to address the specific issue which is fuelling the crime such as alcohol, drugs or mental health issues.

“The three organisations we are helping with funding today are doing some fantastic work to break the cycle of offending through targeted intervention and I am pleased to announce this support for them,

“Whilst it is for the Courts to decide who receives a custodial sentence, I want to ensure we are providing the best possible support to offenders to help turn their lives around.”

Philip Dunion, Director of Finance, Apex Scotland said:

“Apex Scotland is delighted to receive this award from the Scottish Government. As a national charity this will enable us to continue to be at the forefront of policy development in relation to (ex)offenders and those at risk of offending, contributing to the aims of a fairer and safer Scotland.

“In particular we will be able to continue our drive to finding innovative solutions for our service users and to underpin our high quality service provision with a clear focus on evidence of benefit to both our service users and society as a whole.”

Tom Halpin, Chief Executive of Sacro said:

“I welcome the Justice Secretary’s announcement of funding to voluntary organisations to help reduce reoffending. This funding from Scottish Government will change people’s lives for the better. It will enable Sacro to deliver direct services to vulnerable people across Scotland who are drawn into the justice system, often through issues associated with inequality and deprivation.

“Sacro’s partnership working is focussed on supporting positive change among those who find themselves in the justice system. It is by addressing the underlying issues that lead people into offending that we will achieve long-lasting and positive outcomes for individuals and their communities.”

Prof Nancy Loucks, Chief Executive of Families Outside, said:

“Families Outside is very grateful for the award of funding from the Scottish Government. The impact of imprisonment on the children and families left behind is significant and enduring. It cuts across a wide range of issues including physical and mental health, housing, poverty, victimisation, substance misuse, child and adolescent learning and development, and crime prevention.

“We are pleased to be able to continue this work with the support of the Scottish Government, reaching vulnerable families who are often otherwise unidentified and unsupported.”

Source: Scottish Government