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Medics Against Violence (MAV) and the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) are looking for two exceptional individuals to deliver and develop an innovative violence reduction project, based in Glasgow.
MAV is a leading charity founded by medical professionals which aims to reduce violent injury. The VRU is a national centre of expertise on violence, treating violence as a public health issue, the VRU believe violence is preventable not inevitable.
This challenging role will involve delivering practical, bespoke interventions through a wide network of partner agencies, supporting people away from chronic violence and towards safer, healthier and more productive lifestyles.
The role will be demand led and involves regular evening and weekend work.
The post holder will be compassionate, patient and supportive, with an understanding of the causal factors around violence. They will be motivated, have exceptional communication skills and an ability to develop meaningful trusting relationships which make a difference to people lives.
The closing date for applications is 1300 hours on Thursday 24th September 2015.
Interviews will be held in Glasgow on Tuesday 6th October 2015.
For more information and an application pack contact Inspector Keith Jack on firstname.lastname@example.org
Information shared by our friends at Disclosure Scotland…
We would like to respond to the recent changes in legislation covering spent conviction information which is detailed on higher level disclosure certificates (standard, enhanced and PVG).
What are the Changes?
- Legislation has come into force that changes the content of higher level disclosures
(Standard, Enhanced and PVG disclosures)
- The legislation also changes the law in relation to what an individual has to disclose to employers. These changes mean there could be less spent conviction information being disclosed on higher level disclosure, however, public protection continues to be at the forefront of consideration.
Further information regarding the legislation, background information and both lists of offences can be viewed here http://www.disclosurescotland.co.uk/news/index.htm.
What does this mean for you?
There will be no changes to higher level applications with no conviction information nor will there be any changes on the completion of Disclosure Application forms, they should be still be completed as normal, however there are key changes to higher level disclosures (Standard, Enhanced disclosures and PVG scheme records) which are:
- certain spent convictions will continue always to be disclosed due to the serious nature of the offence;
- rules will be applied to certain spent convictions to determine the content of spent conviction information on higher level disclosures; (please refer to the process map below);
- spent cautions (within the meaning given in schedule 3 of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) will not be disclosed;
- individuals who have a spent conviction for certain offences which has not yet reached the point at which the rules would prevent disclosure of the conviction can indicate to Disclosure Scotland that they intend to make an application to a Sheriff for an order to have certain spent conviction information removed from a higher level disclosure;
- where an application to a Sheriff is made, the issue of a higher level disclosure to the person who countersigned the disclosure application or request will not take place until the Sheriff has made a determination on the application;
- the information that can be included on the scheme record update issued under section 53 of the 2007 Act will be changed – scheme record updates will only be issued if a person has no conviction information on their scheme record; and
- Scottish Ministers will treat scheme record update requests as if they were a scheme record request if a person has conviction information on their scheme record (at no additional cost).
Disclosure Scotland’s spent conviction process:
The Scottish Government recently hosted a conference on the subject of Electronic Monitoring. It took place in Perth Concert Hall and had inputs from the cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, Michiel van der Veen, a Dutch Judge and an international consultant in Electronic Monitoring and PP?PF in the shape of Pete, Hugh and Eddie sharing the lived experience.
The Scottish Government has established a working group on Electronic Monitoring. The conference was intended to widen the debate and to use the feedback generated to help inform the work and direction of that working group.
Michael Matheson opened the event with his vision of where electronic monitoring could be used. He stated that this was a great opportunity to examine the issues and to see where it fits in to the wider penal policy debate. Prison, he argued, should be seen as the punishment of last resort. Prison, and in particular short term sentences, can have an adverse effect on family life, employment, housing and benefits. It affects the desistance process and is a waste of human potential.
Community sentences now have the lowest levels of reoffending in 16 years. Mr Matheson believes that electronic monitoring has an important part to play on building upon that result. It allows a flexible and tailored response to offending whilst keeping links to families and employment.
Mr Matheson also stated that he thinks there is room for the newer version of GPS technology. This would not be as a replacement for the current radio based systems, but as an additional resource to be applied in certain circumstances to certain individuals. He issued a challenge to the working group to bring forward clear and firm recommendations regarding GPS.
The use of remote alcohol monitoring was also put forward. However, this would be part of a person centred approach that helps to address the underlying problems caused by the alcohol dependency as part of a more effective support package. Mr Matheson finished by stating the need for the working group to be “bold and ambitious” in taking the role of electronic monitoring forwards.
Next up was Dutch Judge Michiel van der Veen who also runs an electronic monitoring consultancy in Europe. He kept his presentation very much at the strategic level – advocating a much needed change of mind set in relation to electronic monitoring, a clearing of the “conceptual confusion that surrounds it” and a clearly defined “Goal Orientated Approach”.
Essentially he was arguing for almost a blank canvas to begin the process, we need to work out the proper outcomes, i.e. what do we want to achieve with electronic monitoring, and then look to the technology for solutions. He stressed that technology is just a tool and it is the goals and outcomes that are the most important.
Underpinning any approach should be the goals of: –
Speed – quick time to implement and quick action on breaches
Certainty – it has to be performed
Stringency – has to be strict
Judiciality – if GPS used then data should be property of the applicable court and not available to other agencies.
Mr van der Veen outlined the approach taken in Holland. Each magistrate/judge/prosecutor has access to an electronic monitoring “webstore” where the appropriate disposal can be combined from 11 different options. This is based upon the needs of the disposal and is not technology driven. There are other products available but the Dutch system restricted their access to only 11 items that cover the whole range of potential disposals.
The user interface was kept very simple so that its uptake would be easier to implement. Use of this system has almost doubled in a period of five years. There has been increased uniformity in practical applications of electronic monitoring and the whole process is better monitored and managed within the Dutch probation service. The expectations of stakeholders (the judiciary, press, politicians and public opinion!) have all been better managed.
The conference then broke into smaller groups for a workshop entitled “Challenging the status quo” followed by lunch.
The graveyard shift after lunch was a sharing of the lived experience as provided by Positive Prison? Positive Futures. Pete outlined a few ideas and suggestions from our perspective and then proceeded to “interview” Shug and Eddie in relation to their experience of being on the tag. The delivery was open, transparent, humorous and, at times, brutally honest. The next workshop started immediately afterwards and the feedback in my workshop was astounding. Participants were really listening to the messages coming across and took on board the most salient points for discussion. This workshop was titled “A bold approach, an ambitious future”.
The workshops were expertly summarised by the facilitators from Liddell Thomson. There followed a panel discussion at the end that included Arlene Stuart who is in charge of the workstream on Electronic Monitoring for the Scottish Government, Professor Mike Nellis from the University of Strathclyde and Andy Bruce in the chair.
The main question was how Arlene found the experience of wearing a tag. During the morning session Arlene had “volunteered” to wear a GPS tag. Arlene was open an honest about her very mixed experiences whilst making the important point that, although this was basically just an exercise, the feeling that keeping this on for a prolonged period of time would be a major difficulty.
The report was also the launch of a new report that has been compiled by Dr Hannah Graham and Professor Gill McIvor from Stirling University. The report gives an overview of Scottish and international evidence and experience of the uses, purposes and impact of electronic monitoring and is available from the SCCJR website.
Our friends in Scottish Justice Matters have also looked at this issue. An article from December 2013 highlights the questions put by Professor Nellis in relation to electronic monitoring.
The following is from the Big Issue’s own newsletter…
“Positive Future with The Big Issue
The Positive Prison? Positive Futures… initiative aims to raise awareness of issues that offenders face upon their release back into society. The Big Issue offers a positive option to offenders upon their release, in keeping with Positive Prison’s aim of challenging and promoting change within the current penal system and reducing reoffending. We look forward to working closely with Positive Prison in the coming months.”
Just for the record we are also very excited with the proposed working together of our teams. The Big Issue is a well-established “hand up” to people and if we can help with their proposed work within the prison estate then it should be a good example of partnership working in practice. I will keep you all up to date with progress on this…
Over 2013-15, the Scottish Government provided time-limited funding to 16 projects across Scotland to establish new and develop existing community services for women who offend.
A national evaluation examined how these services were implemented and to what extent they contributed towards positive outcomes for women (associated with reduced reoffending). This national evaluation was completed at the end of May 2015. It was undertaken by Ruth Dryden and Colleen Souness, former Associates at IRISS.
A video presentation by Colleen and Ruth provides some of the findings from the evaluation, and was originally delivered and discussed with women’s community justice social work practitioners and others at the Women’s Service’s Forum on 21 May in Hamilton.
You can also watch ‘I am just another female offender‘ by Colleen Souness. It was inspired by reverse poetry.
(Thanks to our friends at IRISS for sharing the above)
Pete’s piece was then followed by a debate between Graeme Pearson MSP and Rod Campbell MSP. An interview with Ruth Davidson MSP followed the item and made reference to the bill.
Each of the sessions covered a lot of ground and were very wide ranging in both content and aspirations. We are looking forward to developing our ongoing relationship with Shelter Scotland and to look at the opportunities it presents to help improve the system as it currently stands…
We have also been tasked with “improving” the language that has been put forward in the actual bill itself. The term “offender” and ex-offender” appears in the introduction and we are now working with civil servants to come up with a form of words that underlines what Community Justice is about without using those pejorative and negative labels. This is most definitely a work in progress as any suggestions have to be cleared with the parliamentary drafters and legal team. The bill as it currently stands can be found on theScottish Parliament website.
However, it might have been good to have been given a statement of intent from the Scottish Government. There was no declaration as to what position they would have adopted had they been given this power. This is a question that should be put to all candidates in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election…