New student competition launched

Community Justice Glasgow and Turning Point Scotland are offering students the chance to take part in a competition with prizes but also the chance to engage with practical issues relating to women in the criminal justice system.

Both organisations believe that alternative options to custody are cost effective and have positive longer lasting results.

The Community Justice for Women in Scotland project, led by Turning Point Scotland and Community Justice Glasgow, aims to highlight some of the underlying causes of offending behaviour among women and organisations supporting women to reduce reoffending:

http://www.cjwomenscot.co.uk/

Twitter@CJWomenScot

It is open to anyone considering a career within criminal justice or a related field.

The task set is that students play the role of a sitting Sheriff in their local Sheriff court. They are presented with a scenario, Andrea appears in front of them for sentencing, having pled guilty to committing theft by shoplifting. Their job is to pass sentence from the range of options available and justify why they have chosen that option. Entries can be in the form of a written submission or audio/video format.

The closing date for submissions is April 30th 2018 and the winner will be decided by a panel of judges drawn from professionals and academic within criminal justice.

The winner will be notified and announced online at http://www.cjwomenscot.co.uk/ in May

Suggested word limit 500 for written submissions or 3 minutes for audio/video entries.

1st prize £150 high street vouchers & spend a day with a leading professional in the criminal justice field

2nd prize £75 high street vouchers

Send entries to andydewar@turningpointscotland.com

Competition task

As a sitting Sheriff in your local Sheriff court, Andrea appears in front of you for sentencing having pled guilty to committing theft by shoplifting.  She has many previous low tariff offences related to her drug and alcohol use.

The Social Work Report states that Andrea is a 25 year old single parent with a 4 year old son.   She is unemployed and resides alone as her child is in the care of his maternal grandmother. Children and Families Social Work (C&FSW) are involved and Andrea has access to her son under supervision.  Andrea hopes to reunite and be a full time carer to her soon in the future.  C&FS Worker states that Andrea’s mother is willing to return the care of her child to her but only when she is drug and alcohol free.

Andrea admits to being drug dependent and uses £60 of Heroin a day by smoking and uses alcohol to excess on weekends.  She reports her childhood was traumatic when her alcoholic father regularly physical abused her mother and was regularly incarcerated.  After years of living in this environment her father finally left home when she was a teenager.  Andrea has a poor relationship with her mother and feels lonely and isolated stating her only friends are people with drug and alcohol issues.

The Social Work Report shows she is high risk of reoffending if she does not receive appropriate interventions related to her drug and alcohol use.  Furthermore, the report writer consulted Andrea’s community psychiatric nurse (CPN) and she has confirmed Andrea has untreated mental health issues as she does not attend appointments due to her lifestyle.  The CPN feels the excessive drug and alcohol use may be due to underlying trauma related to Adverse Childhood Experiences related to her relationship with her parents.   Andrea is at risk of losing her tenancy due to antisocial behaviour and the police have been called to the tenement after arguments with her neighbours when under the influence of drugs and alcohol. She also has rent arrears.

Andrea’s defence agent advocates for a non-custodial sentence and states it would have a detrimental effect on Andrea’s mental health and will result in her losing contact with her son and possibly losing her tenancy.  He insists her offending is related to her drug and alcohol use and she is willing to have treatment, engage with her CPN and consent to a CPO.  This is confirmed in the social work report.

The Social Work Report offers the following options for you to consider:

A custodial sentence although the treatment and support she needs is available in the community

A restriction of Liberty Order

A Drug Treatment and Testing Order

  • A CPO with one or both of these requirements:
  • Supervision Requirement
  • Unpaid Work or Other Activity Requirement

It may also contain any of the following seven requirements, each of which can only be imposed alongside a Supervision Requirement:

  • Compensation Requirement
  • Programme Requirement (taking part in group work or other structured activities)
  • Residence Requirement (living at a specified address)
  • Mental Health Requirement
  • Drug Treatment Requirement
  • Alcohol Treatment Requirement
  • Conduct Requirement (a new type of requirement, allowing the court to enforce particular types of behaviour; for example, a person placed on a CPO for committing a sexual offence might have a conduct requirement that he should not approach playparks.

*While Andrea is a fictitious person, her experiences and circumstances are based on realistic scenarios

Your task as Sheriff in your local area is to choose a sentencing option for Andrea and pass sentence, giving a summary of why you have chosen this course of action and why you believe the option is appropriate.

Your summary should consider what the impact will be on Andrea, her child, her future chances of reoffending and any impact on the wider community.

Women’s Community Justice Services

Connections Centre (Aberdeen)

Tomorrow’s Women Glasgow

Turning Point Scotland 218 service Glasgow

Glasgow Women’s Supported Bail Service (Turning Point Scotland & Aberlour)

Willow Centre (Edinburgh)

Dundee WCJS Team

North Lanarkshire WCJS Team

Renfrewshire/ East Renfrewshire WCJS

Highland WCJS (Inner Moray Firth area)

Inverclyde WCJS

West Dunbartonshire WCJS

Fife WCJS Team

South Lanarkshire WCJS

Glen Isla Project (Angus)

Forth Valley Criminal Justice Link Nurse Project

Kilmarnock Court Action Note Project

Ayrshire EEI Project