Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, and Dame Elish Angiolini addressed a seminar in Edinburgh and heard first-hand accounts of the early success of Shine Women’s Mentoring Service.

Turning Point Scotland is part of the Public Social Partnership, led by Sacro, which was granted £2.7 million from the Scottish Government’s Reducing Reoffending Change Fund to establish a national mentoring service for women offenders in Scotland over two years.

Shine will support 720 female offenders from across Scotland, up to March 2015. The service is provided by 24 mentors who help develop the women’s independence and quality of life, improve their social skills and motivation and work towards addressing a life free of offending.

The service, offers both practical and emotional support on an intensive one-to-one basis, has already had positive feedback from service users and professionals involved.

Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to attend the launch of the ‘Shine’ women’s mentoring service, an excellent example of the invaluable work of Sacro and its partners.

“The Reducing Reoffending Change Fund is about giving hope to people who would otherwise end up, time and time again, behind bars.

“‘Shine’ Women’s Mentoring Service shows just what can be achieved when you give women offenders the one-to-one support they need to get their lives back on track.

“While crime in Scotland is at a 39 year low and re-offending rates are now falling, the rate of people going on to commit further crimes is still too high.

“Without support, It’s all too common for women leaving prison to end up back there again, an issue flagged by the Commission on Women Offenders, which recommended that mentoring is the most practical and effective way of addressing this issue.

“That’s why it’s vital for these women, and the communities bearing the brunt of their crimes, that we help them break this vicious cycle.

“We will continue to work closely with third sector partners like Sacro and their third sector partners, and with our Change Fund partners the Scottish Prison Service and Robertson Trust, to develop these mentoring services.

“We will also work with our colleagues in criminal justice social work, health and housing to ensure these women get access to the support and services they need to successfully reintegrate and make a change for the better.”

Dame Elish Angiolini said: “The Commission made a number of significant and wide ranging recommendations. A particularly important aspect was the recognition of the need for a coherent and seamless mentoring service to support women prisoners as they leave prison and when they are at their most vulnerable.

“I warmly welcome this significant initiative which will form the foundation for a consistent and seamless service for women irrespective of where they live in Scotland.”

Tom Halpin, Chief Executive of Sacro, said: “Already we know that this approach to reducing reoffending works.  Our primary focus in delivering this service, will be on the needs of each of the individual women and we will work with them to help them address their many problems and challenges and to support them to change their lives towards a life free from offending.

“This service is a first for Scotland and the first time that the eight organisations in the public social partnership have come toward to deliver a consistent service which will benefit women right across Scotland.

The eight partner organisations who will deliver the women’s mentoring service are Sacro, Barnardo’s Scotland, Circle Scotland, Apex Scotland, Turning Point Scotland, the Wise Group, Access to Industry and the Venture Trust.

Senior experts in community justice from across Scotland will heard about the early successes of Shine, the new national Women’s Mentoring Service set up in direct response to the Commission on Women Offenders chaired by former Lord Advocate, Dame Elish Angiolini.

 

Ends

Notes to Editors

 

Shine Women’s Mentoring Service is a Public Social Partnership delivered across Scotland by a number of organisations with the aim of supporting women offenders back into the community.

Sacro is the lead agency and the service is delivered by Apex Scotland, Barnardo’s, Circle Scotland, The Wise Group, Turning Point Scotland, Access to Industry and Venture Trust.

The service works in partnership with Community Justice Authorities, Scottish Prison Service and local authorities. Shine is funded by The Scottish Government– Reducing Reoffending Change Fund, The Robertson Trust and The Scottish Prison Service.

For more information visit www.shinementoring.org

Twitter: @shinementoring

Media inquiries to:

 Alan Mairs , Sacro . amairs@sacro.org.uk  Tel: 0131 624 7259

 

 Tom Fox, Scottish Prison Service, 01312448463

 Katrina Slater, Barnardo’s Scotland, 0131 314 6631