Community Justice - A new approach to making communities safer
The introduction of the Community Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 triggered the formal implementation of the new model of Community Justice in Scotland. The 2016 Act places a duty on community justice statutory partners to produce a Community Justice Outcome Improvement Plan (CJOIP) which outlines key local needs and priorities and the plans and actions to address these. Beyond this, the partners are also tasked with reporting annually, the community justice outcomes and improvements in their area, again with reference to the associated strategy and framework documents and when complete, submit those annual reports to Community Justice Scotland.
Accordingly, the Scottish Government and Scottish Community Planning Partnerships launched Community Justice as a new way forward for Scotland and since 1st April 2017, the West Lothian Community Planning Partnership (CPP) has been responsible for developing Community Justice in West Lothian.
Our Community Planning Partnership is responsible for providing our Local Outcomes Improvement Plan (LOIP) which runs from 2013-23- updated in September 2017. A draft new LOIP for 2020-30 was ready to go out for consultation just prior to lockdown with Covid-19 but this will now require to be reviewed to reflect new issues/priorities as a result of the pandemic. The Partnership is also responsible for providing our Community Justice Strategic Plan. Our First community Justice Strategic Plan was completed in 2019 and runs until 2024. It also acts as our Community Justice Outcome Improvement Plan- (CJOIP) and is closely aligned to our LOIP. The Community Justice Partnership (CJP) which reports to the CPP provides an Action Plan 2019-21 which sits alongside the Community Justice Strategic Plan and informs the work of the CJP.
Consultation with communities as part of community justice planning and service provision
The Community Justice Strategic plan (2019-24) has been derived from:
Previous planning with Community Justice partners over the last seven years since the inception of our original Reducing Offending and Re-offending work
Adapting previous governance structures to make them more suitable for the new Community Justice extended agenda
Debate within the new governance structure which highlighted some of the areas we consider to be our priorities
National strategic planning, including the development of National Outcomes.
Of the National Outcomes, the most significant within the context of Community Justice are:
We have improved the life chances for people at risk
We live our lives free from crime, disorder and danger
We take pride in a strong, fair and inclusive society
The West Lothian CPP's LOIP defines two outcomes that are the most significant for the Community Justice agenda:
We live in resilient, cohesive and safe communities
People most at risk are protected and supported to achieve improved life chances
It is this Strategic Plan which informs our work going forward:
We have used the following five priorities in our Strategic Plan to shape our associated Action Plan for the Community Justice Partnership from 2019-21:
1. Young People Who Offend
2. Women Who Offend
3. Response to Violent Crime
4. Health and \Substance Misuse
5. Improving Stability and Lifestyles
Community Justice and what we want to achieve
Reducing offending and reoffending is crucial, not just by helping people with convictions to change their behaviour, but by helping them to be (and to be treated by others as) ordinary members of the community.
The broader agenda for Community Justice is about reducing crime and the harm it causes to individuals and communities. This involves helping communities develop knowledge, resilience and empathy in managing the behaviour and problems of their own residents. For those at risk of offending, Early and Effective Intervention and Diversionary approaches are essential. It also means having the right supports in place at the right times to help those individuals who are serving sentences both in custody and in the community. These supports will help us to achieve better and lasting outcomes both for individuals and the communities in which they live.