On Tuesday 21 April, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice stated that he will be asking the Scottish Prison Service to consider the release of a limited number of short-sentenced prisoners towards the end of their time in custody.
The Wise Group welcomes this decision and – as the lead on the largest prison mentoring programme in Scotland – we’ve been quick to adapt to the changing environment since the outbreak of COVID-19, engaging closely with the Scottish Prison Service and Scottish Government to coordinate an approach to supporting prisoners released early.
In expectation that some prisoners would be released early, we have done the following –
- Identified all prisoners due for release in the next six months, proactively contacting them via Email a Prisoner to explain how we can help them on release
- Created a specific engagement process for early releases to minimise the chances that anyone leaves without support – including
- working directly with each prison to ensure the service is offered to every eligible person who is released early
- a letter sent to their liberation address
- outreach via phone
- a dedicated freephone hotline setup for prison leavers to call us
- We are collaborating with, among others, Turning Point Scotland, Simon Community, Four Square, local authority homeless teams and local Health and Social Care Partnership addiction teams to ensure the people we support get access to vital support for accommodation, additions and benefits
- After leaving prison, our mentors continue to offer support to people in the community by phone, and by text
Mentoring is proven to provide the much needed glue between services in society. The 1-2-1, non-judgemental relationship that a professional mentor has with their customer improves attitudes and behaviours towards offending, improves engagement with statutory and non-statutory services, and reduces reoffending. We are well placed to develop the programme further over the coming months to ensure a well-rounded service that meets the needs of individuals, communities and stakeholders.
If you’d like to work with the Wise Group to support people in the justice system and help make communities safer, then get in touch.