National Strategy for Community Justice launched

Reducing reoffending will lead to fewer victims.

An updated road map to improve the delivery of robust community justice across Scotland has been published.

The revised National Strategy for Community Justice sets out priority actions to aid delivery of enhanced community justice disposals.

They include ensuring robust and high quality community interventions and public protection arrangements are consistently available across Scotland - given all the evidence shows community justice is more effective at reducing offending and aiding rehabilitation than short term prison sentences.

The new strategy updates an earlier 2016 document and is informed by February’s launch of a new long-term vision to transform Scotland’s justice sector. It also coincides with the publication of new legislation proposing changes to the way imprisonment is used in Scotland.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said:

“This revised strategy re-shapes the national direction for community justice in Scotland, building on 15 years of fantastic progress at a time we are seeking to transform the justice system.

“Evidence shows that community-based interventions and sentences can be more effective in reducing reoffending and assisting with rehabilitation than short-term custodial sentences, while protecting the public and robustly managing risk.

“We firmly believe that while prison will continue to be the right option for some, in many circumstances, keeping individuals out of custody is the best way to prevent further offending, reduce victimisation, and keep our communities safe.”

Karyn McCluskey, chief executive of Community Justice Scotland, said:

“Community justice is where people who have broken the law are held to account and supported to reconnect and contribute to their communities. It’s a complicated and important role and professionals across Scotland who deliver community justice services are hugely skilled and dedicated.

“Our approach to community justice in Scotland signals our determination to follow the strong body of evidence around what works to help people stop breaking the law again, which leads to fewer victims and safer communities. We have made huge progress, but we must go even further.

“This revised national strategy sets us a target to deliver real change and build on the current successes. And, when that means changing the destiny of some of the most excluded in society, improving outcomes for them, their children and their children’s children, we must all rise to the challenge.”


The new strategy will be accompanied by a delivery plan to ensure national and local implementation and is informed by the Vision for Justice in Scotland. The recent publication of the Bail and Release from Custody (Scotland) Bill was informed by a 12 week public consultation which sought views on how custody should be used in a modern and progressive society.

The four aims of the new strategy are:

Optimising the use of diversion and intervention from prosecution where appropriate and relevant to achieve better outcomes.

Ensuring robust and high quality community interventions and public protection arrangements are consistently available across Scotland.

Ensuring services are accessible and available to address the needs of individuals accused of or convicted of an offence.

And strengthening the leadership, engagement, and partnership working of local and national community justice partners.


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