Investing in community justice

Budget funding to cut reoffending and reduce victim numbers.

A total of £148 million will be invested in community justice services next year to help reduce reoffending so there are fewer victims of crime.

The funding in the draft 2024-25 Budget includes an additional £14 million to encourage wider use of robust community-based interventions where appropriate.

Evidence shows such interventions, including Community Payback Orders and Structure Deferred Sentences, can be more effective than short-term imprisonment at reducing reoffending and assisting with rehabilitation.

The £148 million will be distributed across a range a range of community justice partners, including local authority justice social work services and third-sector organisations.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said:

“Protecting the public and delivering safe communities is my absolute priority.  

“This significant investment in community justice will support organisations to work together to ensure that people who have offended address the underlying causes of their behaviour and pay back to the community where appropriate. This aims to encourage rehabilitation, reduce reoffending, and protect the public, leading to fewer victims and safer communities.

“While prison is needed for those who pose a risk to public safety, evidence shows that community-based interventions and sentences can be more effective in reducing reoffending than short-term custodial sentences, while robustly managing risk.

“This funding is part of our overall £3.8 billion Budget investment in justice for 2024-25 which will support policing and other frontline services and help to deliver a safe, secure and resilient country.”


Scottish Budget 2024-25

The reconviction rate for those given Community Payback Orders in 2018-19 was 29.8% compared to 52.1% for those completing custodial sentences of one year or less.

A Community Payback Order (CPO) is a sentence served in the community, rather than in custody, supervised by justice social work services. CPO's aim to ensure that people convicted of offences pay back to their communities. They also provide an opportunity to address factors underlying offending behaviour such as substance misuse or mental health issues.

A Structured Deferred Sentence(SDS) is a community-based intervention for people convicted of an offence. SDSs provide a period of time between conviction and sentencing in which people receive support and assistance from a justice social worker or third sector partner organisation in order to reduce the likelihood of further offending behaviour. If the person meets the terms of their SDS -  and depending on the nature of the offence - they may receive a reduced sentence, a community-based disposal or be admonished and dismissed from court. 


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