Conference:Reducing re-offending: A shared duty for service providers

one day conference, 27th April 2009   Sheraton Grand, Edinburgh   Chair: Professor Alec Spencer, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Stirling University and former Director of Rehabilitation and Care, Scottish Prison Service   Keynote Speakers: Kenny MacAskill MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, The Scottish Government Cllr Harry McGuigan, North Lanarkshire Council and COSLA spokesperson for Community Safety and Wellbeing  Bobby Cummines, Chief Executive, UNLOCK Sue Brookes, Head of Offender Strategy and Partnership Development, Scottish Prison Services   “Reducing reoffending is the best way to reduce offending, and so protect our communities” Kenny MacAskill MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, The Scottish Government (December 2008) In December 2008 The Scottish Government published Protecting Scotland’s Communities: fair, fast and flexible justice outlining its strategy to make communities safer and ease pressure on the country’s prisons by reducing offending.  With roughly 80 per cent of sentences served in Scotland being for six months or less and with nearly half of all sentences given to those with three or more previous convictions, re-offending rates in Scotland put both a financial and resource strain on the Scottish Prison Service, public bodies and third sector service providers.

The primary needs of offenders released back into the community – benefits, housing and health services – must be met upon release to significantly reduce the risk of recidivism.  Beyond these needs, improving literacy and numeracy, finding routes into employment and dealing with addiction and dependency are important cornerstones of the reintegration process and can help change behaviours in both the short and long-term.  Understanding the complex needs of offenders on an individual level and working cross-sectorally to provide continuity of care can have a significant impact on rates of re-offending but requires enhanced communication from all involved.


For further information see