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BY TOM JACKSON, Head of Community Justice 

Prison Throughcare, in particular preparing individuals for reintegration to communities, is a critical element of justice services, requiring close collaboration across third and public sector partners.  In Glasgow, as part of Community Justice structures, Throughcare is co-ordinated via the Throughcare Strategy Group, facilitating the collaboration across partners.

Following the drafting of a Bill in March 2020, the Scottish Parliament endorsed emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus crisis.  The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act provided scope for the early release of prisoners; part 9 allows:

(1)      Scottish Ministers may by regulations provide that a person who falls within a class of persons specified in the regulations is to be released from prison early.

(2)       Scottish Ministers may make regulations under sub-paragraph (1) only if they are satisfied that the making of the regulations is necessary and proportionate, in response to the effects coronavirus is having or is likely to have, on a prison or prisons generally, for the purpose of protecting:

(a) the security and good order of any prison to which the regulations relate, or

(b) the health, safety or welfare of prisoners, or those working, in any such prison. 

In preparation for the implementation of such regulations, partners in Glasgow established collaborative planning in preparing for the release of individuals, not only for Early Release arrangements, but also in general terms preparing individuals for release during Covid-19 restrictions.

Release scenarios were explored and rehearsed by partners in Glasgow via a virtual working group of Throughcare Partners.  Those partners included:

  • The Wise Group (on behalf of New Routes PSP)
  • The Glasgow Working Group on Women and Offending (including representation from the SHINE PSP)
  • The Wheatley Group
  • The Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations
  • Department of Work and Pensions
  • Scottish Prison Service
  • Glasgow City Council
  • Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership
  • Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board
  • Glasgow Life

During Covid19-related restrictions there were fresh challenges for partners in the throughcare process as well as learning, learning which continues.

Much of the collaboration and planning fell into the 2019 – 2020 reporting year for Community Justice Glasgow and the agreed programme of work that followed fell into the current year 2020 – 21.  We will report further on the outcomes in the future – watch this space!

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