Glasgow City Council is to form a new team in a bid to protect services at risk following changes to Community Justice legislation. The Scottish Government, through the Community Justice (Scotland) Act, will abolish all Community Justice Authorities from 31 March, 2017 and replace the existing system with a single national agency. Transition arrangements have seen funding for Glasgow's CJA significantly reduced to £50,000, less than 25 per cent of the funding required to support projects across the city.
Councillor Pauline McKeever, the Chair of Glasgow's Community Justice Authority, said: "There is a real risk that the new model could become over centralised and lose touch with communities. Glasgow's CJA has made significant gains in reducing re-offending and reintegrating people back into their communities. Anything that jeopardises that work would be counter-productive, and could lead to more people in prison, at significant cost both to the public purse and to individuals and families."
Community Justice covers a range of services, including community based services such as community payback orders and support for people returning to their community from prison, and the CJA in Glasgow supports numerous community based projects supporting people with convictions to reintegrate into the community. The Council works with partners such as the Scottish Prison Service, Police Scotland, NHS, third sector and housing organisations, to provide support which can radically reduce the risk of reoffending.
The Council will now establish a new Community Justice team to better co-ordinate partners' work during the transition.
Councillor Soryia Siddique, Executive Member of Citizens and Communities, said: "Glasgow has led the way in helping to stop offending and supporting those who have been in the prison system to get their lives back. We're absolutely committed to ensuring this valuable work continues. The cost is not doing so would be more offending and more families and communities ripped apart.
"There is great concern that by centralising these efforts, we will not only lose resources, but much of the expertise and knowledge required to provide the support required. We simply cannot afford to let that happen."