Guidance for Local Partners in the New Model for Community Justice

Guidance to support the statutory community justice partners to understand their roles arising from the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016.

2. What is Community Justice?

2.1 Community justice is defined in the National Strategy for Community Justice as:

"the collection of individuals, agencies and services that work together to support, manage and supervise people who have committed offences, from the point of arrest, through prosecution, community disposal or custody and alternatives to these, until they are reintegrated into the community. Local communities and the third sector are a vital part of this process which aims to prevent and reduce further offending and the harm that it causes, to promote desistance, social inclusion, and citizenship".

2.2 The definition of community justice is as outlined in Section 1 of the Act as follows:

  • Giving effect to bail conditions, community disposals and post-release control requirements
  • Managing and supporting designated persons (see list below) with a view to helping them to not offend in future or in reducing their future offending
  • Preparing people for release where they have been convicted of offences and sentenced to imprisonment or detention
  • Facilitating the provision of relevant general services which people who have been sentenced to imprisonment or detention are likely to need immediately following their release (general services are defined below)
  • Giving effect to bail conditions (including conditions set out in an EU supervision orders, which is a pre-trial bail order made in another EU member state)

2.3 In relation to managing and supporting persons, "supporting" includes:

  • advising and guiding designated persons
  • providing opportunities to participate in activities designed to eliminate or reduce future offending and helping designated persons to access such activities
  • emotional and practical support designed to eliminate or reduce further offending
  • helping designated persons to access and make use of general services

2.4 Designated persons are:

  • people who have been convicted of an offence
  • people who have been given an alternative to custody in respect of an offence - often called a "community disposal" or community payback order
  • people who have been given an alternative to prosecution
  • people who have been arrested on suspicion of having committed an offence
  • persons aged 16 to 17 who are subject to a compulsory supervision order under Section 67(2)(j) of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011

2.5 Designated people may have committed an offence anywhere in the world and be aged 16 or over as well as those who have been arrested but not subsequently convicted. No timescales are laid down in the Act as to when these incidents may have taken place.

2.6 General services, which should be arranged in ways which make it easier for the persons mentioned above to gain access to support from services, in relation to:

  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Children
  • Physical or Mental Health
  • Social Welfare
  • Any other general services which may affect the likelihood of future offending by the designated persons


2.7 In general terms, community justice aims to deal with the causes of offending either before it happens (primary prevention) working with people who may be at risk (secondary prevention) or supporting those who have been through the justice system (tertiary prevention).

2.8 Primary preventative work falls out-with the scope of the Act although much of the work already undertaken by the statutory partners, the third sector and community bodies will be concerned with primary prevention in its various forms.

2.9 Primary prevention involves working with the general population to address potentially criminogenic factors before the onset of a problem. Social crime prevention addresses factors that influence an individual's likelihood of committing a crime ( e.g. unemployment, poverty, low education etc.). Prevention strategies to address social factors can include school or community-based initiatives involving local people and third sector organisations. Situational prevention looks at the impact of the built environment ( e.g. better place design to engender safer places for people to live which contribute to and potentially enhance a sense of well being).

2.10 Secondary prevention involves working with people identified as at risk including those who may have been arrested but not convicted. A whole range of initiatives can be carried out including, for example, diversionary activities such as sports or leisure pursuits, volunteering or gaining new skills. Again there is a role for the statutory partners and the third sector and community bodies in secondary prevention.

2.11 Tertiary prevention is activity that is specifically directed towards the "designated persons" as identified in the Act. It is focused on preventing recidivism. As an example, Moving Forward Making Changes ( MFMC) is a cognitive-behavioural programme that draws upon methods providing the strongest and most recent evidence of effectiveness in working with men who have committed sexual offences. The programme was accredited by the Scottish Advisory Panel for Offender Rehabilitation ( SAPOR) in June 2014. Also, multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements ( MAPPA) established by section 10 of the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005, provide a national framework for jointly establishing arrangements to assess and manage risks posed by certain categories of offender, namely; Registered Sex Offenders, Restricted Patients and those offenders assessed as posing a serious risk of harm to the public. Management of these offenders will include risk management strategies of monitoring, supervision, interventions and victim-safety planning; and associated activities which are used to manage the risks posed by offending behaviour tailored to the individual needs.


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