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An order to extend presumption against short prison sentences has been welcomed by the Wise Group.
The order, subject to the approval of Parliament, will extend the existing presumption from three to 12 months and come into force this summer.
Sean Duffy, Wise Group CEO, said:
“We welcome the extension to Presumption Against Short Sentences, as an important step in the delivery of smart justice in Scotland. Too many times, we have seen good rehabilitative work done by our mentors with customers undone as they are sentenced again to 2, 3, 4 month sentences. We have the evidence of the impact of our work – less than 10% of New Routes customers reoffend within a year if they successfully complete the programme. This has an added benefit of making a significant contribution to the reduction of the costs associated with reoffending to the economy.
The Scottish Government is right to highlight the success that sentencing someone to an alternative to custody, such as a Community Payback Order, can have. We must now use the opportunity of the extension to PASS to build on this, and explore with the judiciary what they require in order to have confidence that they are sentencing people to a robust community alternative. Working alongside partners including criminal justice social work, the third sector is well placed to continue to play a key role in the delivery of PASS”.
The Wise Group’s dedicated mentors, half of whom have convictions themselves, provide vital wraparound support and guidance to customers for up to six months before release – being there for them on the day they leave prison – and for a further six months in the community. This valuable support focuses on the needs of each customer, often helping them to find a safe place to sleep, having their immediate health needs met or arranging financial support.