Community justice is about changing the way we think about justice to deliver better outcomes for victims, communities and those involved with the justice system.
The difference we make
Community Justice Scotland aims to create safer communities, shift societal attitudes and the circumstances that perpetuate crime and harm. We impact people’s lives by influencing positive change.
An approach that prevents crime
Sentences served in the community are more effective than those served in prison. A community-first approach keeps people, who are not yet tried or who pose little or no danger to the safety of fellow citizens, in their communities. There they are connected to all the important relationships and support networks needed for a productive life, resulting in less crime being committed. Community justice works.
1 in 3 men and 1 in 10 women in Scotland have a criminal conviction. The Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act reduces the length of time that many convictions need to be disclosed for things such as job and university applications, meaning people who have broken the law can reconnect and contribute to their communities.
Source: Scottish Government (2019-20) Criminal proceedings Scotland
Community sentences are often more effective at reducing reoffending and less costly than prison sentences, particularly when it comes to sentences of under a year. Of those released from prison in 2017/18 who had served a sentence of a year or less, 49% were reconvicted within a year. The average prisoner place costs £37,334 per year, compared to £1,894 for a Community Payback Order.
Source: Scottish Government, cost of the criminal justice system in Scotland dataset (2016/17).
Scotland’s communities have benefitted from around 10 million hours of unpaid work carried out by people serving community sentences since 2011.
Source: Justice Social Work Statistics in Scotland: up to end of year 2021-22.
Find your local authority
Local authorities across Scotland deliver a wide range of services relating to community justice. Find out what’s available in your area by visiting your local authority’s website.
How electronic tags can support people away from crime
Gemma Fraser, Head of Restorative Justice and Recovery at Community Justice Scotland, talks about the real life stories where electronic monitoring has made a difference to people’s lives