MacKay Hannah

Delivering Effective Justice in Scotland: Getting smarter on crime and the causes of crime

Thu 21st Mar 2019

Edinburgh, Royal Scots Club

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

Scotland's new Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf MSP, has identified clear priorities for justice in Scotland. He wants to strengthen victims' rights, support offenders in moving away from crime and give communities confidence to report crime.

The Cabinet Secretary has said:

"Using data to determine what works, I'll be keen to work collaboratively with partners to reduce the cycle of reoffending....How justice works with other public services such as health and education is clearly very important given our commitment to prevention and early intervention....Reducing the use of ineffective short-term imprisonment and increasing the use of robust community sentences, is part of our smarter approach to tackling offending."

This conference focuses on Scotland's approach to criminal justice and discusses both 'what works' and which public service, cultural, health and environmental factors need to be recognised and targeted. It looks at whether it is 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.

Recorded crime in Scotland is at its lowest level in over forty years, yet at the start of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 the Scottish prison population was under 6,000 and by 2015/16 this figure had risen to more than 7,600. 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 is shifting criminal justice interventions to the earliest possible point in the offending and pre-offending cycle. It also wants to tackle reoffending, encouraging all justice partners to support diversion from prosecution where appropriate to address underlying causes of all offending behaviour. 

In three sessions this conference will examine key factors in delivering an effective approach to criminal justice - delivering a 'what works' strategy in justice, protecting communities and victims while delivering effective prevention and re-thinking justice to shape and take advantage of new opportunities.

Benefits of attending

  • Discuss a 'what works' strategy for justice
  • Examine what a 'Crime Confident Community' looks like
  • Assess what can be learned from the violence reduction approach
  • Understand the role of mental health, early intervention and wider factors
  • Hear how prevention, diversion and rehabilitation creates virtuous circles
  • Learn how developing collaborative multi-agency justice policy can work 
  • Participate in discussing how to make community justice work
  • Join up policy and practice on evidence led and digitally smart justice
  • Discover why listening to victims really matters
  • Share best practice on moving from short sentences to smart disposals

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

Fiona Dyer

Interim Director, CSYJ (Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice)

Sean Duffy

Chief Executive, The Wise Group

Martin Dorchester

Chief Executive, Includem

Karyn McCluskey

Chief Executive, Community Justice Scotland

Niven Rennie

Director, Scottish Violence Reduction Unit

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This was an excellent day!

Robert McLaughlin, South Ayrshire Council,
Delegate at Raising Young Scots Conference, November 2017

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