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Action needed to drive down re-offending

March 15, 2012 11:08 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrats will call on the Scottish Government today to do all it can to deliver innovative and high quality programmes to drive down reoffending rates in Scotland.

Alison McInnes MSPAlison McInnes MSPWith prisons dangerously close to bursting, Scottish Liberal Democrats believe that the Scottish Government needs to look at news ways of reducing re-offending rates.

Rehabilitation is key and the Liberal Democrats will call on the Scottish Government to pilot Social Impact bonds (SIBs) as a new way of investing in rehabilitation services.

Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP said:

"Reoffending rates are far too high in Scotland. Right now prisons are failing - they are failing prisoners, and failing communities that the offenders are released back into.

"We need to give criminals the opportunity to turn their lives around, and be productive rather than destructive forces in their communities. Rehabilitation is key in this.

"With tight public finances, we need to look at innovative ways of doing this. Scottish Liberal Democrats believe that the Scottish Government should be looking at the new SIB model as a way of funding programmes to cut reoffending. SIBs allow big upfront investment in innovative programmes, which can be delivered by voluntary bodies and social enterprises, and they only reward successful outcomes. There is potential for huge savings for the public purse if the cycle of reoffending can be broken.

"The SNP committed in their manifesto to piloting three SIB projects. I want to see that promise fulfilled. With a pilot taking place at Peterborough Prison, England is already leading the way on this.

"We need to follow the lead of our neighbours. Scotland cannot afford to fall behind. We cannot allow Scotland to experience the grave social consequences of inaction which will only result in further escalating crime and overflowing prisons."