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BY MARGARET SMITH, Policy Planning & Development Officer, Community Justice Glasgow




In March 2019, Community Justice Glasgow commissioned Media Education to deliver a set of film assets that would bring the work of the Community Justice Glasgow Partnership to life through the voices of those involved in different aspects of Community Justice delivery including, Employability (volunteering), Women in the Justice System, Early Intervention/Prevention and Recovery from drug & alcohol misuse.

The films captured multi-perspective stories including personal testimonies from people with lived experience, interviews with service providers and project staff, context from the Partnership and documentary style visuals.

The production process involved co-production with a group of adults who have experience of the criminal justice system. They formed a media team who worked with two filmmakers to capture the content over a number of weeks.

The films created were premiered in a film theatre at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow in December 2019, in front of an audience comprising of a mixture of 3rd and Public Sector Providers, representatives from across Glasgow City Council, Policy Makers and influencers.

We wanted to demonstrate, direct from the voice of those involved in the Criminal Justice System, the impact that the past has on people’s present [the Ripple Effect] and the types of services that can support people to a better future – from the voice of those that engage with them.  The positive impact of the process of making the films themselves, in terms of self-confidence, self-esteem and having something positive to do, was very evident at the Premiere.”

Tom Jackson, Head of Community Justice, Glasgow

So why are we commissioning films? – The 9 priority themes for the Community Justice Glasgow are set out in the Community Justice Outcome Improvement Plan 2018 – 2023. This work cross cuts our delivery on a number of those themes, more directly relating to:

  1. Service User Voice We will ensure that individuals who access services are at the heart of service planning and delivery.
  2. Communication We will establish an effective approach to communication, with a focus on continuing communication between partners, the wider group of stakeholders and communities. Improved communication will stimulate dialogue, enhance knowledge and further develop confidence in justice systems for the public and for key stakeholders, such as the judiciary.

As part of our Outcomes Performance Framework, our Partnership agreed structural (SO) and person-centric (PC) outcomes that we will measure and report on.   It is designed to ensure that our activity follows a logic chain that describes how we contribute locally to national outcomes.  These films form part of the work that we have been delivering locally towards meeting those outcomes, in particular: 

Structural Outcome (SO) 1 – Communities Improve their Understanding and Participation in Community Justice:

  • SO1(a) – Activities carried out to engage with communities as well as other relevant constituencies.
  • SO1(c) – Participation in Community Justice, such as co-production and joint delivery (Level 3 Engagement – Opportunities for communities to influence options and choices of action, share in any action taken and lead on agreed action)

We have plans going forward to use the films as part of a Community Engagement Toolkit that we will tour with in public spaces.  This work was planned to start in 2020, however, has been delayed due to the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.  The Toolkit will be used to engage the wider public, challenging myths, prejudiced views and misinformation about Community Justice and Prisons sentences. The films will help us to highlight the realities, insights, services, initiatives, findings and plans making up Community Justice in Glasgow.” 

Tom Jackson, Head of Community Justice, Glasgow

Structural Outcome (SO) 3 – People Have Better Access to the Services they Require, Including, Welfare, Health & Wellbeing, Housing and Employability.


Structural Outcome (SO) 4 – Effective Interventions are delivered to Prevent and Reduce the Risk of Further Offending.

We have and plan to continue to promote and show the films across services, using them to promote what the Partnership does, as a training tool and to encourage traditional and non-traditional justice partners and services to consider how they can leverage their resource to contribute to the overall reducing re-offending agenda.  They have also been by a number of services for their own training purposes, including to all Police Scotland recruits at Tulliallan and staff at Skills Development Scotland.”

Tom Jackson, Head of Community Justice, Glasgow

The work, through delivering against the Structural Outcomes will help us to improve locally our outcomes for people (person-centric):

  • Person-Centric Outcome (PCO) 1 – Life Chances are improved through Needs, Including Health, Financial Inclusion, Housing and Safety Being Addressed.
  • Person-Centric Outcome (PCO1(b) – People develop positive relationships and more opportunities to participate and contribute through education, employment and leisure activities.
  • Person-Centric Outcome POI1(c) Individual’s resilience and capacity for change and self-management are enhanced.

We have found over the years, through experience, that the creative arts are very effective in supporting people with lived and living experience of the justice system – to draw out their thoughts and contribute to the conversation.  Although we strive to include people with lived experience at all levels of our work, there is often some resilience building required in the first instance.

As part of the process of participating the project to produce the films, the lived experience media team played a vital role in ensuring that the film assets were authentic and attuned to the relevant audiences. It gave them an opportunity to build their digital and communication skills, take the role of filmmaker – to relate to people they were interviewing in a completely different way than before and provide a means to form an overview of Community Justice and understand their place in it.  The process itself helped to build self-esteem, confidence and resilience, as can be seen throughout the films and in particular the Ripple Effect Premiere Film.

All participants were given the opportunity and supported to gain a certificate in ‘Access to Media’, a Media Education course certified by Edinburgh College.

Following the premiere, Media Education offered Jordan, the youngest member of the Ripple Effect team an interview and subsequent paid sessional work as a Peer Researcher on a national care experienced research project. Jordan will be facilitating personal storytelling with peers and creatively documenting this journey to evidence a model for Participatory Evaluation in partnership with people with lived experience.

“It’s good – know what I mean – it’s keeping me on track to stay away from the negative and helping me start over with my life”.

Jordan Lee, Ripple Effect

“We see real possibilities for using filmmaking as a community leadership tool. We see the importance of supporting people to move on in their journey beyond sharing their stories to using their own lived experience as the basis for contributing in informed and constructive ways to the shaping of services. Filmmaking, through interviews with experts, stakeholders and community creates a transformational learning environment for people and builds the legitimacy, skills, knowledge and overview for people with lived experience to feel empowered and effectively represent their peers.”

Iain Shaw, Development Team & Director, Media Education

About Media Education –

Media Education was set up in 1989 to use film and media as a tool to champion the experiences, priorities and views of some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society and build personal development routes to powerfully present these to influence, negotiate and meaningfully participate in service provision and policy making.

“We believe that people are experts in their own lives and circumstances and that sharing experiences fosters understanding and develops the trust and cooperation needed to build resilient communities that build bridges between people from all walks of life, to organise a society that works better for everyone. We use a combination of high-quality film production processes, creative storytelling and facilitation expertise to achieve this.”

Iain Shaw – Development Team & Director, Media Education

We are focused on creating non-hierarchical environments for people to find greater personal power and belief they can make a difference, improve their mental health and sense of self, discover and express their creativity, build connections and have a sense of belonging.

Community Justice Glasgow has plans to commission more films over 2020-21 covering other themes and priorities – WATCH THIS SPACE!

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