MacKay Hannah

Tackling Crime and Delivering Justice in Scotland: The Scottish Government's long term vision

Tue 29th Sep 2020

Edinburgh, Edinburgh

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

IMPORTANT: In light of the development of Coronavirus and the importance of taking sensible measures to protect public health, the date of this conference has been rescheduled from pre-summer to this date.

This conference examines the Scottish Government's intentions to set out a long term vision for the Scottish justice system, how that vision can be translated into deliverable action and the culture change required if policies and services are to effectively tackle the high levels of imprisonment which are created by a cycle of offending and re-offending. 

Humza Yousaf MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Scottish Government has said: "...the progressive reforms that we have to make to our punitive policy. That involves not just politicians; it involves the judiciary, the third sector, schools, early intervention, social work and many others.....There absolutely has to be a culture change, or a mindset change, in how we approach punitive policy. That high prison occupancy rate - the highest imprisonment rate in western Europe - is a stain on our conscience." Statement to Justice Committee, Scottish Parliament, 11 June 2019

The Scottish Government has stated that: "We will set out a long-term vision for our justice system and how we respond to the changing nature of offending in ways which are proportionate, just, effective and promote rehabilitation as well as keeping our communities safe and responding  to the needs of victims."  Protecting Scotland's Future, the Government's Programme for Scotland 2019-20, published 3rd September 2019.

What is required for a new approach to criminal justice in Scotland which aligns public service, cultural, health and environmental factors to work? Is it possible to deliver an inclusive strategy which sees justice as part of a much wider policy challenge across the economy, health, education and broader public services as well as public engagement? 

We have lower levels of recorded crime than in recent decades and yet the highest imprisonment rate in western Europe at 150 people imprisoned per 100,000 of the Scottish population. What then do we need to understand about the fundamentals of crime in Scotland and the factors which underpin it in order to break the cycle of imprisonment? As we look to focus on criminal justice interventions that are most likely to lead to minimising reoffending, what resources and skillsets are required to properly support rehabilitation?

Can these numbers be changed by the relationship between progressive evidence-based approaches to tackling offending and delivering lasting changes in offending behaviour?

The Scottish Government wants to see effective intervention that works on pre-offending, tackles reoffending and supports re-integration. How much can shifting criminal justice interventions to the earliest possible point in the offending and pre-offending cycle help? What kind of change do all justice partners need to embrace to address underlying causes of all-offending behaviour?

This conference will examine what is needed to deliver on an effective long-term vision for Scottish justice, exploring how we can protect communities while delivering effective prevention, maximise the use on non-custodial alternatives and re-think justice to shape and take advantage of what works best. 

Benefits of attending

  • Understand where crime in Scotland currently stands and why
  • Examine whether justice social work can bring Christie Commission principles to life
  • Discuss how community sentences can be made to work best
  • Know the role of mental health, early intervention and wider factors
  • Hear perspectives on how we address our drugs epidemic
  • Reflect on prevention and rehabilitation: effective intervention and smart disposals
  • Discover what the Scottish Government wants to do about whole-system changes
  • What should Scottish justice look like in 2030?
  • Get informed on delivering multi-agency justice policy
  • Find out what an inclusion based approach should look like

Who should attend?

This conference will be relevant for anyone involved in and with Scotland's criminal justice system including police, social work, health, education, housing, Third Sector groups, courts, offender services, prisons, victims' groups, offender bodies, rehabilitation services, community safety organisations, employment services and academics.


Humza Yousaf MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Scottish Government

Karyn McCluskey

Chief Executive, Community Justice Scotland

Martin Dorchester

Chief Executive, Includem

John Hutchison

MD, Tern Business Systems Design Ltd and Lead Designer for the CLF and SCP projects

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"I felt all the speakers were very good and gave informative presentations."

Gary MacKenzie, Criminal Justice South Ayrshire,
Criminal Justice Scotland Conference, 23/01/18

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