News

Prison Population

Today SPS released the latest prison population numbers which were recorded on Friday the 26th of September

Rehabilitation and Resettlement

The reoffending rates for those leaving Scottish prisons is too high. If Scotland is to break the cycle of offending, those leaving custody must be given every opportunity to turn their lives around and reintegrate successfully back into their communities. Currently, rehabilitative services both inside and outwith prison vary across the country.

Audit Scotland’s 2012 report on reducing reoffending highlighted the mismatch between the services on offer and those that we know work to reduce recidivism. These inequities must be addressed if we are to see sustained reductions in the rates of reoffending in Scotland.

Read the report here: Reducing Reoffending in Scotland

Getting it Right For Every Child

GIRFEC (Getting it right for every child) is Scotland's pan-social policy foundation principles for every government agency dealing with children.

The ten main principles are:

  1. A focus on improving outcomes for children, young people and their families based on a shared understanding of wellbeing
  2. A common approach to the proportionate sharing of information where appropriate
  3. An integral role for children, young people and families in assessment, planning and intervention
  4. A co-ordinated and unified approach to identifying concerns, assessing needs, and agreeing actions and outcomes, based on the wellbeing Indicators
  5. Streamlined planning, assessment and decision-making processes that lead to the right help at the right time
  6. Consistent high standards of co-operation, joint working and communication where more than one agency needs to be involved, locally and across Scotland
  7. A Named Person for every child and young person, and a Lead Professional (where necessary) to co-ordinate and monitor multi-agency activity
  8. Maximising the skilled workforce within universal services to address needs and risks as early as possible
  9. A confident and competent workforce across all services for children, young people and their families
  10. The capacity to share demographic, assessment, and planning information - including electronically - within and across agency boundaries

This is important for penal reform because we must ensure that young people who are themselves within the criminal justice system are protected by these principles. These principles can also be used as the measure with which to protect those children who are so often affected by parental imprisonment, and yet often remain largely forgotten (for more on this see Families Outside).

Getting it Right For Every Child
 

 

Youth Justice Under the Radar

An excellent report from Howard League England and Wales has revealed how young people are placed under an ‘intensive supervision and surveillance’ (ISS) which is given as an 'additional punishment'. This sanction is not given by a judge but it includes tagging, a curfew and 25 hours specified activity. If a young person does not comply, they can be returned to jail. Howard League England and Wales have described this as an injustice,and an expensive one at that.

Howard League for Penal Reform (England & Wales): They couldn't do it to a grown up - tagging without due process

Extended Family Visits

It has emerged that the women’s prison Drake Hall in Staffordshire is being refurbished and will include a facility for extended family visits. That is to say that there will be a facility for prisoners’ families to stay overnight. Obviously having this kind of facility enables much more meaningful contact between prisoners and their family members, particularly their young children. These sorts of facilities are also found in other jurisdictions, such as Norway and Canada and we would certainly regard this provision as best practice for a new women’s prison.

At last week's Cross Party Group on Families Affected By Imprisonment Chief Executive of SPS, Colin McConnell articulated that such a facility was “still a possibility”. We would hope that there is still the chance that it will be built into the design and available for prisoners’ families from the first day of operation. 

This is of particualr necessity in Scotland, a large country in which families have large distances to travel to reach prisons for visits. At the same parilamentary meeting members voiced concerns about the difficulties facing prisoners’ families based in rural areas who wished to visit prisoners held in establishments in the central belt.

We know that those family bonds and relationships are a central part of the desistance process. As SPS and Scottish Government build a prison near the central belt they must make a commitment to develop facilities which support not just prisoners, but their families as well, making visits as easy as possible for everyone involved. 

Read more here:

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