Families Outside CEO has given her response to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Programme for Government announcement.
Nancy Loucks said:
“Families Outside welcomes the Scottish Government’s Programme for Scotland, especially in relation to the new reforms proposed for justice.
“For almost 30 years we have campaigned for the increased provision of family-centred initiatives and approaches in relation to the justice system, and we are extremely pleased to see that the Scottish Government is, amongst other things, in the process of developing and introducing a Management of Offenders Bill to improve the existing law on the rehabilitation of offenders.
“To support this, we have already published research on the impact of electronic monitoring on families and know that, despite the increased responsibility that this type of sentence can have on families, there are also huge benefits for the person subject to such an order and to their families as a result.
“One such benefit is a reduction in reoffending, and we are therefore extremely pleased to see that the reconviction rate in Scotland has dropped to an 18-year low as a result of more community-based alternatives to short-term prison sentences – an area we have been working hard on with policy makers. This will also have an impact on reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) by reducing parental imprisonment.
“The Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce supported and supervised bail will also be welcomed by families, allowing people held on remand to be monitored and supervised in the community instead. Unlike remand, this allows families to stay together and does not adversely impact employment opportunities or stable housing, which is proven to reduce reoffending.
“Underpinning the majority of these recommendations is a desire to up-skill those individuals and groups who come into contact with prisoners and families, and at Families Outside we will continue to provide bespoke training to support teachers, social workers, and prison staff so that they not only have a greater understanding of the issues facing families but also the means to address them.”