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Action to reduce reoffending 16/09/2015 The Scottish Government has announced new measures to make prison release dates more flexible.

Action to reduce reoffending

The Scottish Government has announced new measures to make prison release dates more flexible. It believes this will help reduce reoffending by ensuring people leaving custody are able to have better access to vital support services.

Release on a Friday, on public holidays or over the weekend can often hamper attempts to access vital support such as housing, healthcare, employment, welfare, alcohol and substance abuse services and can lead to reoffending. Legislation is being brought in to ensure those leaving custody can access such services during the working week.

The change is part of a series of actions from Scottish Ministers to improve support for people leaving prison and help reduce re-offending. Other proposed measures include:

  • Supporting improvements in drug and alcohol services being delivered in prison and during the transition from custody to the community.
  • Extending the age range of the Community Job Scotland scheme to help more people who are experiencing barriers to employment into jobs.
  • A housing project at HMP Perth is looking at ways to address the barriers to finding secure stable accommodation for people on release from prison. Working with local councils, immediate housing issues are being resolved in the target of five days.
  • With at least a third of adult men and a tenth of women likely to have a criminal record, the ongoing consultation on reform of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, and any action taken following consultation, will be another step to tackling the barriers to employment faced by those who have left prison.

The actions will form part of a new model and national strategy for Community Justice in Scotland being developed with local government and other key partners, focused on reducing re-offending, increasing public safety and reassurance, reducing stigma and lowering costs.


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