NHS Health Scotland



B. Evidence for integrated recovery-oriented services (Enforcement model)


Scottish policy directives support all organisations with a contribution to make to managing offenders to work together in a coordinated way to deliver enhanced outcomes for individuals and communities.


Scottish policy and practice note

Recovery from drug addiction and dependence is acknowledged to be a highly individual and rarely linear process. In the Scottish Government national drugs strategy, The Road to Recovery: a new approach to tackling Scotland’s drugs problem (2008) [1] recovery is defined as ‘a process through which an individual is enabled to move from their problem drug use, towards a drug-free lifestyle as an active and contributing member of society’ and states that ‘recovery is most effective when service users ‘needs and aspirations are placed at the center of their care and treatment… an aspirational and person-centred process’.

Redesigning the community justice system in Scotland [2]
The changes follow a 2012 consultation on options to make improvements to the way services for offenders are planned, managed and delivered. Key changes include:

  • transferring responsibility for the planning and delivery of community justice services from Scotland’s eight Community Justice Authorities to the 32 Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs). This will ensure criminal justice social workers maintain their links with colleagues in local authorities, while developing stronger links with partners in areas like health, housing and welfare to improve how they work together to tackle re-offending
  • a national strategy for community justice and reducing reoffending . This will set the national strategic direction for CPPs to plan and deliver services as well as providing the framework against which progress can be assessed and improvement driven. A new national body will be created to provide independent assurance to Ministers on the successes of community justice partners in tackling re-offending. This will give community justice the leadership it needs to continue the progress towards tackling crime and making communities safer.


Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 [3] made a number of changes to how our justice system operates including: Making sentences served in the community more robust, immediate and visible through the creation of the Community Payback Order (CPOs), and introducing a presumption against short prison sentences of three months or less. These were introduced in February 2011. The community sentencing provided by CPOs is crucial for making realistic alternatives to custody available and for supporting rehabilitation.


Reducing Reoffending: National Strategy for the Management of Offenders (2006) [4] 
This strategy outlines a common set of objectives to give a shared focus to all those working with offenders in any capacity.


Outcomes for communities: Scotland is a safe place to live, but too many communities and individuals suffer the effects of crime. Communities need to feel safer as well as be safer. So we want to see:

  • Increased community safety and public protection through a consistent approach to managing offenders on community and custodial sentences.
  • Increased public confidence in the effectiveness of work with offenders.
  • Improved understanding of community disposals.
  • Improved understanding of the role of prisons.
  • Improved satisfaction for victims, sentencers and beneficiaries of work by offenders.
  • Appropriate care of victims, including appropriate and timely information.
  • Timely information and, where appropriate, involvement for the families of offenders.

Outcomes for offenders: We know that certain factors will reduce the chance of an individual reoffending. We will expect agencies to work together to enhance services for offenders to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Sustained or improved physical and mental wellbeing.
  • The ability to access and sustain suitable accommodation.
  • Reduced or stabilised substance misuse.
  • Improved literacy skills.
  • Employability prospects increased.
  • Maintained or improved relationships with families, peers and community.
  • The ability to access and sustain community support, including financial advice and education.
  • The ability to live independently if they choose.
  • Improvements in the attitudes or behaviour which lead to offending and greater acceptance of responsibility in managing their own behaviour and understanding of the impact of their offending on victims and on their own families.

The Commission on Women Offenders [5] stated that convictions for frequent low-level offences, often a result of significant underlying issues, such as drug and alcohol addiction and mental health problems, could be better addressed in the community.

The Commission concluded that services and programmes need to be tailored to the multiple and complex needs of women offenders to achieve reductions in reoffending and better outcomes for local communities.

The final report made recommendations which offer practical proposals to reduce reoffending among women.





  1. Scottish Government (2008) The Road to Recovery: A New Approach to Tackling Scotland's Drug Problem. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Available from (external link, 5.4MB) : http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2008/05/22161610/0

  2. Scottish Government (2014) Redesigning the community justice system. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Available from (external link): http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Justice/policies/reducing-reoffending/community-justice

  3. Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, Scottish Government, 2010.
    Available from (external link): www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/archive/law-order/criminal-justice-bil

  4. Scottish Government (2006) Reducing Reoffending: National Strategy for the Management of Offenders. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Available from (external link): http://www.gov.scot/Resource/Doc/121591/0029340.pdfl

  5. Commission on Women Offenders. Available from (external link): www.scotland.gov.uk/About/Review/commissiononwomenoffenders