Our communities want to feel as safe and crime free as possible. They deserve a first-class justice system that is fair, fast-acting and flexible. And, above all else, they deserve a system that has public safety at its heart. The Scottish Government is committed to providing that system.
Underpinning our vision is this Government's commitment to transforming Scotland's approach to early years and early intervention. There is a critical part for the justice system to play in breaking the generational cycle of offending and poor outcomes.
Our system will be supported by a framework of custodial and community sentences. This framework protects the public by imprisoning those who commit serious crimes or are a threat, and gives communities payback from those who offend against them. Where appropriate, and where offenders are willing, it will also give offenders the opportunity to turn their lives around - because reducing reoffending is the best way to reduce offending, and so protect our communities.
The Scottish Prisons Commission has done exceptional work on the future of our justice system. The key themes outlined in their report of swift justice, payback, reparation and more effective management of offenders for whom prison remains the right disposal underscores our vision for change and gives us our direction for the future.
This paper builds on the Commission's work and the findings of the 2007 Review of Community Penalties. Its contents outline the work already underway in many areas within the criminal justice system to innovate and improve. The paper recognises that the key to successful delivery lies with not just the Scottish Government but our local authority partners, health and third sector providers, the Community Justice Authorities, and the judiciary at every level.
Keeping our communities safe and helping offenders turn their lives around are inextricably linked. These aims transcend politics. They are about making bold decisions to work differently but together for the people of Scotland.
Kenny MacAskill MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Justice