‘Second chancers’ campaign aims to change views on justice system

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A new campaign has been launched in a bid to boost awareness of how non-custodial sentences can help reduce crime.

Community Justice Scotland unveiled its Second Chancers initiative in a bid to change perceptions about how the system should work.

It combines short documentary films and audio to tell what it describes as the “authentic and raw stories of success and failure”.

Scotland currently has one of the highest rates of prison sentences in Europe, with Scandinavia having a similar crime rate but levels of incarceration that are almost 50% lower.

Community Justice Scotland argues that rather than putting offenders in prison, which can see them lose their job, home and family, community sentences can help criminals tackle drug, alcohol and mental health problems, at the same time as benefiting from support in areas such as skills training, education, housing and employment.

Chief executive Karyn McCluskey said: “Scotland has always been a country of inventors, explorers and innovators. In the fields of science, engineering and technology, we strive for what works rather than what has always been done. Why would we approach justice any differently?

“We deserve a smart justice system driven by the best evidence of what reduces and prevents offending, repairs harm and improves the lives of everyone. Isn’t that what justice is for?”

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I welcome this campaign, which underpins the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting those who have offended to address the reasons for their behaviour so they can contribute positively to their communities.

“Short custodial sentences often serve little purpose and this campaign supports our progressive, evidence-led approach to preventing and reducing offending and making communities safer.”

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