Over the last 8 years, The Robertson Trust has invested over £7 million in criminal justice projects across Scotland that work with young offenders, women and families affected by imprisonment. Additionally, we have played an active role in developing the capacity of the criminal justice sector by helping to improve partnership working between agencies and by sharing learning from our funded work to inform policy and practice.
This briefing is based on the considerable knowledge the Trust has gained from its long term investment in funding and evaluating criminal justice projects across Scotland. Our key learning includes:
- The third sector plays a significant role in delivering services for offenders and people at risk of engaging in offending behaviour. Key to its effectiveness in this area is its flexibility, responsiveness, commitment and ability to form strong relationships.
- Services that bring together agencies from across the public sector and third sector to address offenders’ needs in a joined-up way are most likely to be effective.
- Young offenders often have a high level of need and require intensive support over an extended period of time. When supporting this group, organisations should ensure their staff receive appropriate training in identifying and addressing young offenders’ needs.
- Women in the criminal justice system are some of the most vulnerable in society. Gender-specific, community-based services that respond to women’s specific needs and aspirations are needed to help divert women away from the criminal justice system.
- Prison Visitors Centres provide families of offenders with much needed emotional and practical support while their family member is in prison. These services also play a key role in helping offenders to build and maintain positive relationships with their children.
- In a time of shrinking budgets and growing needs, an evidence based approach to designing, funding and evaluating services can help ensure resources are directed towards those approaches which are most likely to work.
The full briefing is available to read here.