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Commissioning of voluntary through care and mentoring services: Research findings

INSIGHT | 15th November 2023

Research findings: People with lived experience of the justice system and professional stakeholders

Community Justice Scotland (CJS) has a remit to promote smart justice based on the best evidence for individuals who are currently serving or have served prison or community-based sentences.

CJS will take over the commissioning process of voluntary throughcare and mentoring services for short-term prisoners in 2024 and is conducting a Strategic Needs and Strengths Assessment (SNSA) to provide a foundation for the planning and delivery of these services in the future.

As part of the SNSA, CJS wanted to conduct research into the reintegration needs and experiences of individuals who are currently or have previously served short term prison sentences or been on remand. The objectives of the research are to answer:

  1. How are the current voluntary throughcare and mentoring services funded by Scottish Government delivered?
  2. Who might access current voluntary throughcare and mentoring services?
  3. How do people access the services?
  4. What needs do those that access services experience that the services can/should address?
  5. What are the strengths and challenges in current service delivery?
  6. What are the opportunities for improvement?
  7. What can be recommended to ensure that services are effective in meeting people’s needs and achieving positive outcomes?

Progressive was commissioned to better understand what the current services deliver, gaps in services and to develop recommendations for improvements to service design and delivery.

Research was conducted:

  • With individuals serving short-term prison sentences and those on remand and individuals receiving throughcare support in the community.
  • via an online survey with professional stakeholders to establish the current services offered, delivery of services and suggested improvements
  • to explore the experiences of families and wider networks of people with experience of supporting others with reintegration, so that their perspectives could feed into the commissioning review of throughcare services funded by Scottish Government delivered by the 3rd sector.

This suite of documents report on findings from in-depth interviews with individuals with lived experience of prison, with families as well as findings from the professional stakeholder survey. Reading links below.