Six projects are to receive a share of almost £7.7m to establish a national network of mentoring schemes to tackle Scotland’s high re-offending rates.
The funding, to be invested during the next two years, will be targeted towards prolific male offenders and women offenders who are at risk of re-offending. They will be given one-to-one support, provided by around 130 mentors, to deal with their problems, including practical support to get their lives back on track, help to access public services and encouragement to comply with court orders and community sentences.
This investment – the latest round from the Scottish Government’s Reoffending Change Fund - includes £2.658m for a partnership of voluntary and public organisations led by Sacro to work with female offenders, and £2.9m for a partnership led by the Wise Group to undertake mentoring with prolific male offenders. Each of these programmes will be delivered Scotland wide.
Four further Public Social Partnerships will receive funding for local or specialised schemes. These are:-
Tayside Council on Alcohol - £311,270 to build on their work with women and persistent male offenders in Dundee, Perth and Kinross, and Angus,
Action for Children & Barnardo’s - £1,267,751 to work with young prolific male offenders in East Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and Highland
Includem - £374,399 to work with problematic young offenders in Greater Glasgow
Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire - £179,742 to work on mentoring and employability with offenders in that area.
Announcing details of the funding allocations at HMP Edinburgh, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill said: “Although crime in Scotland is now at a 37 year low, re-offending rates remain stubbornly high. Without the right support, those leaving prison will all too often end up back behind bars – in some cases, time and time again. We need to break that cycle so that offenders make a more meaningful contribution to society, enter a life free of crime and stop our communities suffering from the impact of their repeat offending.
“This funding will help six partnerships expand or set up mentoring schemes across Scotland to improve throughcare and support for younger offenders leaving prison and in the community. I want to thank the Robertson Trust for its £2m contribution towards the Change Fund and for joining with us and the Scottish Prison Service to support these projects. I now look forward to visiting these projects later in the year to see the impact they are making on individuals’ lives and on building safer, stronger communities.”