Criminal Justice Service ‘contributing to reduction in offending'
25th January 2019
The work of The Highland Council's Criminal Justice Social Work Service has been praised by Members of the Council's Care, Learning and Housing Committee.
Councillors were updated today (24 January 2019) on 3 key programmes being delivered by the Service and the impacts that this is having on persistent offenders, sex offenders, and domestic abuse perpetrators.
Since 2016, the ‘Persistent Offenders Project' has targeted repeat offenders over the age of 30 with complex alcohol, drug and mental health issues and is contributing to a reduction in re-offending. In the first year of the programme the following key results were achieved:
a 30% reduction of convicted offences for people involved with the project;
a 27% reduction (£173,167) in the economic and social costs of crime.
Since December 2017 the ‘Moving Forward: Making Changes’ sex offender group work programme works with adults over the age of 18 with the main aim of reducing the risk of sexual re-offending. The programme is accredited by the Scottish Advisory Panel on Offender Rehabilitation (SAPOR) and delivered throughout Scotland. Members were informed that a Scottish Government report on a national evaluation of the programme found that 69% of men were rated as having a lower risk score by the end of the programme.
Councillors also welcomed the impending introduction of the ‘Caledonian System’ programme in Highland in Spring 2019 by the Criminal Justice Social Work Service and Inverness Women’s Aid. This programme will aim to change the behaviour of domestic abuse perpetrators by reducing the risk of re-offending which will in turn improve the lives of women and children affected. This will be achieved through Community Payback Orders with one-to-one and group sessions with expert social workers over a minimum of 2 years.
Chair of the Care, Learning and Housing Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I commend the challenging work that officers in our Criminal Justice Service are delivering and the positive results and changes they are making to peoples’ lives by contributing to the reduction in offending in the region.
Vice Chair of Care, Learning and Housing Committee Cllr Linda Munro added: "Much of this would not be possible without the excellent partnerships that the Criminal Justice team have created with Police Scotland, NHS Highland, the Scottish Prison Service, Apex Scotland, and Women’s Aid groups. On behalf of the Council we thank everyone involved for their hard work in making the Highlands safer."