Scottish Crime & Justice Survey 2019-20

On 16 March 2021, the Scottish Crime & Justice Survey 2019-20 was published which showed a 46% fall in crime since 2008-9. It highlighted continuing inequality where falls in crime and improved perceptions of safety have not been equally felt; and where 1 in every 100 adults was a victim of repeated incidents of violence, with their experiences accounting for almost two thirds of the total of violent crime in 2019-20.

Criminal Justice Social Work Statistics: 2019 -20

On 8 March 2021, Criminal Justice Social Work Statistics: 2019 -20 were published. The figures only cover up to 31 March 2020, therefore are only very minimally affected by the pandemic. it highlights a number of interesting points, compared to the previous year: the number of diversion from prosecution cases commenced rose by 8%; the number of bail supervision cases commenced rose by 40%; a 69% successful completion rate for community payback orders (77% for those aged over 40 and 66% for those aged 40 or under); the number of Drug Testing and Treatment Orders (DTTOs) decreased by 15% which is the second lowest level of the last seven years.

HMIPS Liaison Visit to HMP/YOI Grampian

On 4 March 2021, HMIPS published their report on a Liaison Visit on 4 and 5 November 2020 to HMP/YOI Grampian, which advised that “the backlog in prisoners awaiting offender behaviour programmes is a serious concern; we urge the SPS HQ to address this as quickly as possible and continue to ramp up opportunities for progression across the prison estate”. Since then, a Liaison Visit to HMP Glenochil has highlighted the same concern: “The SPS and HMP Glenochil similarly need to develop a coherent plan to maximise availability and delivery of offender management programmes and address the assessment and programme backlog”. This a recurring theme which we highlighted in our recent letter to the Justice Committee. 

Review of Forensic Mental Health Services in Scotland Final Report

On 26 February 2021, the final report into the Review of Forensic Mental Health Services in Scotland was published. Echoing numerous calls from the NPM and HMIPS (including in the recent Liaison Visit to HMP Cornton Vale), it recommended that a high secure service should be opened for women in the State Hospital. Unusually, it gave a timescale for implementation, noting that this should be done within nine months of the report’s publication. We will be keeping a close eye on progress.

The Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Rules

On 22 February 2021, secondary legislation to extend The Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Rules until 21 September 2021 was laid. We wrote to the Justice Committee highlighting the lack of scrutiny involved in its drafting e.g. that the Policy Note had been written by SPS itself, with no wider consultation taking place and that HMIPS and SHRC had been merely advised, not consulted. Whilst lack of Parliamentary time gave the Committee little option but to pass the negative instrument, HLS was repeatedly quoted in the Justice Committee Meeting and our concerns have been passed to the Cabinet Secretary for comment.