Scottish Government policy on rehabilitation: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

Please advise on the SG's position on rehabilitation of people, particularly those who have never been convicted of relevant crimes in a criminal court.


As this is not a request for specific recorded information/data held by the Scottish Government but instead is a request for a Scottish Government policy position, I have provided you with some information in general terms on the area of rehabilitation.

I can advise rehabilitation is a priority for the Scottish Government. However, it is acknowledged this is a complex issue that covers a wide range of criminal and social justice issues. At its heart, rehabilitation can be thought to relate to an individual and their own views of things they may have done in the past and whether they have accepted or come to terms with their actions in respect of how they live their life today and in the future.

Support for rehabilitation can be essential. It can require multi agency co-operation between social work and criminal justice organisations to work together to seek to reduce rates of recidivism and where possible seek to divert individuals from a criminal lifestyle through early intervention. This includes providing counselling and support services for addiction and mental health issues, access to educational and training courses to improve chances of gaining employment, and help with housing issues and access to health care. All of this of course requires a sense of personal responsibility on the part of an individual to accept and embrace the help offered as part of re-assessing how to live their life in order to become rehabilitated.

For more detailed information on the Scottish Government’s commitment to rehabilitation, you may wish to review the recently published Vision for Justice in Scotland, found at: Supporting documents - The Vision for Justice in Scotland - (

The Scottish Government’s vision for justice is that we live in a just, safe and resilient society, where we will be supported in rehabilitation by the most effective means, primarily remaining in our communities with support and opportunities for fair work, employment and housing. Through this Vision we will improve public safety, support victims and reduce rates of victimisation.

As set out in the Vision for Justice, we will have achieved our aim to support rehabilitation and work to reduce reoffending and re-victimisation when:

  • we experience less crime and reduced harm from re-offending in our communities.
  • people who have offended are supported to maintain and enhance their social networks and links with their families.
  • people who have offended, who are in prison are supported to live healthier, more productive lives.
  • those with a family member in prison are protected from the negative impacts.
  • children and young people who have committed crimes are not held in young offenders institutions.
  • children and young people have the appropriate support as they transition to adult services.
  • those who have offended have access to housing which meets their needs.
  • those who have offended have positive employment prospects and fair work.

I hope this is helpful.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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