New figures featured in a BBC report today showed a significant rise in the number of offenders doing community payback in Scotland.
The figure has risen to over 700,000 hours, marking a massive backlog of unpaid work offenders in Scotland, mainly due to COVID restrictions.
This backlog is worth noting as it signals the continued impact of the Pandemic, particularly for local authorities experiencing staff shortages, meaning fewer people available to supervise offenders completing their work.
Today’s report highlights that we may have arrived at the nexus point where innovative solutions are needed to fulfill an ever-increasing backlog demand.
At the start of 2022, we launched our Connect platform, a life and digital skills learning programme offering transferable skills to help individuals build resilience and address the challenges they face in today’s increasingly unstable environment.
Connect was developed in response to the challenge presented by the Pandemic and supported Local Authorities across Scotland to enable offenders to complete Community Payback Orders via the platform.
We have created a scalable solution for this problem, which has helped 1000 people from 11 of the 32 Local Authorities in Scotland reduce the backlog by 5000 hours.
While there is still work to tackle the vast figure quoted in today’s report, Connect can be the innovative response required to support Scotland’s Criminal Justice and Local Authorities address this growing challenge.