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Creating a
safer, fairer

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.

Understand community justice

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.

About us

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.

What we do
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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).

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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.

Jess and her team provide round-the-clock care to people who are in crisis.
Ross works with young people who have been involved with the justice system.

Changing lives, strengthening communities

Discover the effect a community-based approach has made to the lives of people in communities across Scotland.

Read stories
Nobody wakes up and decides they want to be a criminal.

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.

Find your local service

What’s happening now

What's new

A holistic approach to rehabilitation with Structured Deferred Sentences in Fife

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Community Payback Order (CPO) Annual Returns Template

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An approach to the planning, delivery and monitoring of community justice outcomes

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How Communities Can Help People Rehabilitate

James Murphy, a learning development and innovation lead at Community Justice Scotland, talks about meeting Father Greg Boyle, the founder and director of Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang intervention and rehabilitation programme

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