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SEVERE AND MULTIPLE DISADVANTAGE – AT THE ROOT OF OFFENDING BEHAVIOUR

SEVERE AND MULTIPLE DISADVANTAGE – AT THE ROOT OF OFFENDING BEHAVIOUR
By MARGARET SMITH – Policy, Planning & Development Officer, Community Justice Glasgow

We are pleased to bring you the Community Justice Glasgow Annual Reporter for 2019 – 2020.  This is 3rd on our series of newspaper style Annual Reports. 

The previous 2 editions have focussed on the why and how ‘Raising Awareness & increasing knowledge and understanding of Community Justice’ – explaining what community justice is and means for Glasgow (2017-18) and ‘How we Do It’ – highlighting the contribution from 3rd (voluntary), Public Sector partners and communities themselves (2018-19) in reducing, and sustaining reductions,  in re-offending in Glasgow.

For this edition we will bring you updates on ongoing work, tell you about new pieces of work,  and provide some focus on the people who come into contact with the justice system (the Who) – where possible linking you to digital content. 

Much of the content of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 reports are still as relevant today as when they were published.  We hope that by bringing these 3 publications together as a series will provide a detailed insight into the world of Community Justice in Glasgow, engendering better understanding and increased confidence across the board that Community Justice ‘works’ for everyone in our city.

The ‘Who’ of Community Justice

The Team at Community Justice Glasgow and our Partners, have for a long time understood the indisputable link between the past and present when it comes to offending behaviour.  As individual citizens of Glasgow we are each shaped by life experiences – the influences of the people we have come into contact with, major events (good or bad) and the environment that surrounds us.  These experiences (consciously or subconsciously) influence our rationale, the choices we make, even just the way we think about the world. 

In June 2019 the findings of a study commissioned by Lankelly Chase and the Robertson Trust, authored by Heriot-Watt UniversityHard Edges Scotland, provided a new platform of understanding by bringing together different elements of life experiences, through the lens of Severe and Multiple Deprivation and Adverse Childhood Experience and linking them to poorer outcomes for the people of our city. 

Why is this important? – We know from experience and evidence that the majority of people who are at risk of, or come into the justice system, will have come from areas of multiple disadvantage.  The Hard Edges Scotland study, cements our belief at the Community Justice Partnership, that in order to provide people with a pathway out of an offending lifestyle, we need to understand what brought them there in the first place, and address these root causes by shaping our services around providing the support, positive experiences and opportunities,  positive people, and the hope that they need,  to change their behaviour and make a better future for themselves, their families and the communities they impact.

Unfortunately Scotland (at January 2019) had the highest per capita prison population in the Western Europe.  We know through data and evidence that short-term prison sentences are ineffective in dealing with the issues that brought people into the justice system in the first instance.  To reduce re-offending we need to support people to move away from the cycle of criminality that sees them revolve around the door into custodial sentences.  You will read more about this throughout this Annual Report via articles and other digital content – see for example in the Themes & Priorities Tab – Prevention – Something to Lose.

If you would like a better understanding in a summarised format click on the links to the Hard Edges Summary Report and Scottish Governments summary explanation of Adverse Childhood Experiences .

For an insight into how Community Justice impacts the people that our partners work to support into a more pro-social life, click on the hyperlink – THE RIPPLE EFFECT – to view an article and series of short films – commissioned by Community Justice Glasgow and made by those who come into contact with the Justice System to tell their stories in their own words.

As always we appreciate feedback as it helps guide our way forward so please tell us what you think either by getting in touch with us or by completing our one minute online survey.

We hope that you enjoy your read.

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