reintegration

Throughcare Service Provision Announcement

Following the news of July 2019 that the Scottish Prison Service planned to temporarily suspend its Throughcare service due to staffing pressures linked to the rising prison population, it was announced on 25 September 2019, that the 'New Routes' and 'Shine' partnerships led by the Wise Group and Sacro respectively, would make support available for more prisoners released from short term sentences of up to four years. 

The Throughcare service previously provided by SPS had been widely praised. We support the reintroduction of this vital service, but lament the need for the redeployment of the 42 Throughcare Support Officers to front-line duties as a result of the increasingly high prison population and rates of absence amongst SPS prison staff.

Reintroduction of Throughcare Support Service

Franchise Extended to Prisoners to Vote in the Shetland By-Election

We welcome the Scottish Government's announcement (01 August 2019) that it will take steps to align the franchise for the Shetland by-election with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). A Remedial Order has been used to extend the franchise to those sentenced to prison terms of 12 months or less, following the 2005 European Court of Human Rights ruling which found that the UK Government's blanket ban on prison voting to be a breach of human rights. Whilst accepting its legal obligation under the Scotland Act to comply with the ECHR, we are disappointed that the Scottish Government has chosen the route of minimum level of compliance, eschewing the opportunity to signal the inclusive and democratic character of Scottish society.

https://www.gov.scot/news/franchise-for-shetland-by-election-to-be-aligned-with-court-ruling/

Experiencing Long-term Imprisonment in Scotland

Based on extensive interviews with long-term prisoners in Scotland, this fantastic 2 page essay from Dr Marguerite Schinkel in SJM illuminates how long-term prisoners experience their sentence, anger about the en masse rehabilitation process and trying to desist when back in the community while faced with the life long burden of having to disclose a criminal record.

Read the full article here: Fair Enough | Scottish Justice Matters | Vol 3 | Number 1 | March 2015
 

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

Howard League Scotland calls for voting rights for prisoners

The Howard League for Penal Reform in Scotland today called for voting rights to be extended to convicted prisoners in all Scotland and UK wide elections.

Howard League Scotland Convener, John Scott QC, said:

“We have heard the First Minister speak about his aspirations for the franchise in Scotland with regard to 16 and 17 year olds, as well as his views about compulsory voting. Should the Scottish Parliament at some point in the future be granted powers to decide on the franchise for Scottish voters, we hope that MSPs will consider extending the franchise to convicted prisoners.

“At the very least, and in the absence of those powers, we call on all the Scottish parties to support the recommendations of the 2013 report of the Joint Committee of the UK Parliament which recommended giving the vote to prisoners serving sentences of less than 12 months.

“It is a source of huge regret to Howard League Scotland that the Scottish Parliament rejected all bids to allow prisoners serving a sentence to have a voice in the independence referendum. Over 6,000 people in Scottish prisons on 18 September, including all those whose sentence disqualified them from voting for no more than a matter of weeks or months, were deprived of any say at all in the permanent future of their nation.

“The decision to follow the UK’s complete ban on voting by convicted prisoners was a missed opportunity and left Scotland firmly outside the European democratic mainstream. The vast majority of the 47 Council of Europe nations allow some or all convicted prisoners to vote.”

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