Up to £1 million pledged to support work of voluntary organisations

Justice secretary Michael Matheson has announced a near £1 million funding package for three leading voluntary organisations working to reduce reoffending in Scotland.

The funding will allow Apex Scotland, SACRO and Families Outside to continue to deliver a range of specialist services in 2015/16 for offenders and their families, helping to stop the cycle of reoffending.

The work of the three organisations includes targeted action to address underlying issues which fuel crime, help with employment, rehabilitation, as well as support to ensure family links are maintained so that the children of offenders do not go down the wrong path in life.

Families Outside estimate that 27,000 children lose a parent to imprisonment each year.

Mr Matheson has confirmed that a series of local engagement events will take place across the country next month to allow all those with an interest to give their views on the future of female offending as part of an on-going consultation on delivering a more radical plan for Scotland.

Speaking following a meeting with the Families Outside charity who received a 15 per cent increase in funding, Mr Matheson said: “The three organisations we are helping with funding today are doing some fantastic work to break the cycle of offending through targeted intervention and I am pleased to announce this support for them,

“Whilst it is for the Courts to decide who receives a custodial sentence, I want to ensure we are providing the best possible support to offenders to help turn their lives around.”

Tom Halpin, chief executive of Sacro said: “Sacro’s partnership working is focussed on supporting positive change among those who find themselves in the justice system. It is by addressing the underlying issues that lead people into offending that we will achieve long-lasting and positive outcomes for individuals and their communities.”

Prof Nancy Loucks, chief executive of Families Outside, said:“Families Outside is very grateful for the award of funding from the Scottish government.

“The impact of imprisonment on the children and families left behind is significant and enduring. It cuts across a wide range of issues including physical and mental health, housing, poverty, victimisation, substance misuse, child and adolescent learning and development, and crime prevention.

“We are pleased to be able to continue this work with the support of the Scottish Government, reaching vulnerable families who are often otherwise unidentified and unsupported.”