Community Justice Scotland have prepared this submission in response to the Scottish Parliament’s Criminal Justice Committee’s call for evidence as part of their Pre-Budget Scrutiny 2023-24. This annual process seeks to scrutinise the Scottish Government’s current funding priorities and to inform future funding plans ahead of the publication of the Draft Budget later in the year.
In our response we set out what we believe the likely impact of the Resource Spending Review and the rising costs crisis will be on the already overburdened community justice system. In our response to the Committee we have highlighted:
- That the community justice system is already struggling to deliver services and is operating at a reduced capacity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a range of other burdens and additional responsibilities placed on it in recent years.
- Any real terms reduction in funding will result in reduced participation in community justice partnership activities, the scaling back or withdrawal of community justice services, and a deterioration in the quality of continuing community justice efforts.
- Due to the vital importance of community justice in reducing offending and reoffending, this will result in more crime and more victims of crime unless steps are taken to mitigate the negative effects of a real terms cut on community justice.
- Funding for the justice system, however, needs a more fundamental overhaul and we would welcome consideration of how future budgets could be used to drive forward a decisive shift in Scotland from custody to community.
We look forward to working with the Committee, the Scottish Government, and other colleagues across the justice sector to explore how we can drive forward community justice priorities together, whilst mitigating the negative effects of reduced spending on the community justice system and the people in it.