Community Payback Orders (Monitoring)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 21st September 2022.

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Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

8. To ask the Scottish Government what conclusions it has reached through its monitoring of the community payback order scheme on its effectiveness at reducing reoffending. (S6O-01355)

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

Use of community payback orders is monitored in a variety of ways, including through national criminal justice social work and reconviction statistics. We know that CPOs can be more effective than prison at addressing the causes of offending, while also delivering benefits to communities, and our justice vision includes a continued focus on shifting the balance towards justice in the community.

The reconviction rate for offenders who are given CPOs is consistently lower than for those who are given short custodial sentences. In 2018-19, the reconviction rate for offenders who had been given CPOs was 29.2 per cent, compared with 51.7 per cent for those who had been given custodial sentences of one year or less.

Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

A key part of the vision for justice is shifting the balance from use of custody towards greater use of justice options in our communities. What action is the Scottish Government taking to achieve that and to make further progress in reducing reoffending?

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

I assure the member that further steps are being taken to shift the balance towards a greater use of community-based disposals. A delivery plan to support implementation of the revised national community justice strategy is being developed with partner organisations; its publication will drive actions at national and local levels. In addition, we introduced the Bail and Release from Custody (Scotland) Bill to Parliament in June. We are supporting effective use of new powers to electronically monitor the use of bail. We are continuing to invest in community justice services within the parameters that were set out in the resource spending review. That includes sustaining additional investment of £15 million in justice social work services this year. Of course, public protection remains paramount as we work to reduce reoffending and assist with rehabilitation, which leads to fewer victims and safer communities.

Photo of Annabelle Ewing Annabelle Ewing Scottish National Party

That concludes portfolio questions on justice and veterans. There will be a short pause before we move to portfolio questions on finance and the economy.