Our Criminal Justice Project aims to mitigate some of the issues that contribute to people re-offending by providing specialist advice and support to men and women within the criminal justice system who are serving all or part of their sentence in the community, for example, through a Community Payback Order (CPO).
The project is funded by Clackmannanshire Council and currently operates three days a week. People are referred into the project by their criminal justice social worker, as well as by other professionals working with offenders in the community, and initial appointments are offered at either the CAB or at the Criminal Justice Service in Alloa in order to make the service as accessible as possible. All appointments are currently being delivered remotely via telephone or email due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Our project worker provides advice on all aspects of benefits, money, and housing, and can also provide support and advocacy, for example, to attend DWP medical assessments or benefit appeals.
The advice and assistance provided by the project has led to positive outcomes in the form of successful benefit claims and appeals, emergency financial assistance, better debt management and preventing homelessness. This project was included in a 2018 report by Community Justice Scotland focusing on financial inclusion, the pdf is available at the bottom of the page for more information & includes a client case study.
The strength of the service provided by the Criminal Justice Project lies in its partnership approach and its focus on ‘needs’ rather than ‘deeds’. For many of the people being referred into the project it is the first time they have received advice from the CAB and one of the key outcomes is that they will be more confident to seek advice for themselves in the future, helping to increase their resilience at difficult times.