Thursday, 27 October 2016

Support ongoing reduction in re-offending

Glasgow Community Justice Authority is responsible for bringing together a range of agencies and local elected members to work in partnership to reduce re-offending and make our communities safer places to live in. This involves coordinating the delivery of quality services for people with convictions and their families, as well as victims of crime. 

Glasgow's Community Justice Authority is responsible for the allocation and monitoring of the section 27 grant awarded to Glasgow City Council by Scottish Government. This grant funding of £18m annually provides core statutory services set out in Scottish Government legislation such as court reports delivered by Community Justice Social Work. It also provides for investment in long-term prevention projects focused on sending less people to prison on short sentences and supporting community-based programmes. 

A continuation of the S27 grant at its current level is critical to delivery of ongoing reduction in re-offending in Glasgow and to ensure delivery of innovative, evidence based work by third sector providers.

Glasgow Community Justice Authority has been in receipt of an administration grant of £227,000 on an annual basis. Under the transition arrangements arising from the dissolution of Glasgow Community Justice Authority at the end of March 2017, the same level of grant to cover the operational costs to support the delivery of services has not been made available. 

Glasgow is the only one of the 8 CJAs that corresponds to one local authority area. We would anticipate this being taken in to account as part of the transition planning. The level of transition funding should be about £200,000 annually to ensure that existing Community justice awareness and activity across Community Planning partners is maintained.

We face many challenges and influences on offending which justify this level of funding support to the city. 

Poverty and social deprivation affect one in five people. Evidence suggests that there continues to be a strong correlation between poverty and crime levels. 

Drug misuse is an issue as Glasgow has the second highest rate of drug-related offences recorded in Scotland between 2011-2015. 

Glasgow has experienced considerably more deaths in those aged under 65 than other UK cities, with a higher proportion of these deaths being related to alcohol consumption. In the 2015 Scottish Prisoner Survey, 38% of participants from HMP Barlinnie and 49% from HMP Greenock reported being drunk at the time of committing their offences.

Homelessness is a major issue. Recent research of prisoners in Glasgow has identified that 15% were homeless when they first came in to prison and 42% had no accommodation at their time of release. About one fifth indicated that they did not know where they would stay on the first night out of prison.

Short term sentences are having little positive impact as they are not able to address the root cause of offending behaviour. Community sentences have been shown to reduce re-offending rates. 

Remand prisoners are likely to receive little or limited support to tackle their offending behaviour. However, many will lose accommodation, work and family links as a result of their sentences.

Re-offending is costly to the public purse and is estimated as £600m per year in Glasgow.

Glasgow Community Justice Authority has given leadership and direction to build effective joined up working to address the key triggers to offending in Glasgow. 

The current challenges linked to re-offending require alignment of resources across Community Planning partners under the new Community Justice Scotland model from 1st April 2017. 

This requires dedicated local authority funding at current levels provided to the Glasgow Community Justice Authority.  Resources are needed for local authority Community Justice staff with expertise and knowledge to support forward planning and early intervention. They are vital to coordinate services, provide a single effective point of contact and offer leadership and direction to ensure we can continue to reduce offending.

Useful link:

Glasgow Community Justice Authority -

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