Everyone who has been remanded or sentenced to custody is entitled to a Throughcare Service from Justice Social Work; Voluntary assistance applies to those who are not subject to statutory supervision. Any person serving less than four years, during sentence or for up to one year after release, can ask the Prison Social Work Unit or Community Criminal Justice Team for advice, guidance and assistance.
Section 71 of the Criminal Justice Scotland Act 2003 strengthened existing throughcare arrangements to allow the local authority to be proactive in the provision of advice, guidance prior to release.
The identified three groups for voluntary assistance are:
- High risk offenders not subject to statutory throughcare
- Young offenders and
- Those who have shown a commitment to address their offending or take up and continue with the offer of assistance under SPS transitional care scheme.
All prisoners will undergo a Core Screen Assessment on entry to prison and in the case of short term prisoners will leave with a "Community Integration Plan". This is to ensure a clear pathway through custody for offenders and should encourage engagement with the planning process, a more responsible approach to addressing difficulties and therefore desistance from offending on release. The ICM system should also ensure that interventions are sequenced appropriately and that all relevant information is shared with appropriate service providers to facilitate a holistic planning process.