People with a learning disability should not end up in custody by default. The Criminal Justice System needs to be intelligent and recognise when it is appropriate to divert people, into approved schemes or the social care system.
To reduce re-offending we also need an intelligent Criminal Justice system that recognises that a system based on punishment alone will not break the cycle of re-offending.
Offenders need support to help break the cycle of re-offending
Key Challenge identified:
- People with a learning disability who come into contact with the criminal justice system should have access to a full range of disposal options including early and effective interventions and diversion
- The Keys to Life Implementation Framework and Priorities 2015
- Strategy for Justice in Scotland
- Reducing Reoffending Programme
- Scottish Government Response to “Redesigning the Community Justice System: A Consultation on Proposals
- The Equality Act 2010
How will SOLD help address the issues identified?
Our members believe that change is possible!
We reviewed the key interaction points, for people with learning disabilities, along the criminal justice pathway, which helped us identify recommendations for change.
The key recommendations to interventions are:
- There must be a greater focus on early intervention.
- It is known that Court ordered community sentences are more effective at reducing re-offending rates than custodial sentences of less than 12 months for similar offenders. Sentencing policy should be changed to reflect this.
- Local authorities must reconsider the eligibility criteria for support services, in particular there should be an examination of whether being at risk of committing a crime should be a consideration.
- effective diversion schemes appropriate for people with learning disabilities must be developed.
If you are a member of SOLD you can request a copy of our action plans which detail how we are working towards implementing our recommendations for change.