Proposals to reform the criminal justice system in Scotland will
be resisted by a “vigorous campaign”, according to the Association
of Directors of Social Work, writes Steven
Plans to create a single agency, the national correctional
service for Scotland, featured in Labour’s election manifesto. It
would bring together work carried out by the Scottish Prison
Service and social work criminal justice departments. While social
workers and prison officers would continue to supervise sentences
in their areas, the correctional service would co-ordinate the work
and enforce new national standards.
Colin MacKenzie, chairperson of the ADSW’s standing committee on
criminal justice, said that the case for change had not been
“The international evidence does not support the proposed
change,” MacKenzie said, “and the evidence does not exist to say
that the current arrangements are not working.”
MacKenzie said that the new proposals would not achieve the
objectives of reducing crime and re-offending, adding that the
plans would harm current provision. “Establishing another “quango”
will be costly, and will reduce direct political accountability at
a national and local level,” he said.
The ADSW is, said MacKenzie, willing to work with the Scottish
executive to explore potential alternatives to the new agency.