YOUNG people leaving prison will receive mentoring to turn their back on crime and contribute to society with support from an £8 million grant.
The Scottish Government has contributed £6 million to the reducing reoffending change fund (RRCF), which has received a further £2 million boost from The Robertson Trust charitable organisation.
First Minister Alex Salmond made the announcement as he opened the new offices of Glasgow-based Includem, one of six projects that will benefit from the fund.
He said: “Providing mentoring schemes for those leaving prison is one of the ways offenders can move away from a life of crime and contribute positively to Scotland’s communities, making them safer and more prosperous places.
“This £8 million from the RRCF will enable charities to do just that.
“Includem is a great example of how this funding is put into practice. By engaging with young people in their own environment and understanding what issues they and their families are facing, staff can work to integrate offenders into society. And that’s something all of the awardees are doing.
“Thanks must also go to the Robertson Trust for providing £2 million towards the RRCF. With programmes like this, we are on a path to building an even safer Scotland by targeting help towards men and women who are at risk of reoffending.”
Includem, which will receive £374,000, employs 99 staff and was set up in 2000 to work with disadvantaged young people. It now supports over 500 young people and their families every year.
Chief executive Angela Morgan said: “With the support of this funding, the Includem IMPACT project is working to reduce reoffending by providing intensive support to challenging and chaotic young people involved in prolific violent offending in Glasgow.
“Initial evaluation findings are already indicating that targeting these young people to change their attitudes and behaviours, building on their strengths and skills, is being successful at reducing the likelihood of prolific violent reoffending and preventing them being drawn into a cycle of custodial sentences.”
The Wise Group, based in Glasgow’s East End, will also receive money for its project called New Routes, taking its total funding from £3 million to £6 million.
Laurie Russell, chief executive of the Wise Group, said: “The Scottish Government wants to see evidence of success and they want to back projects that make a difference.
“This increased funding for the reducing reoffending programme is proof positive that the New Routes project, and others like it, are delivering results.
“Reducing re-offending in Scotland is a win win win. It’s a win for the Government, a win for the taxpayers because it is much cheaper to keep previous offenders out of prison, and a win for ex-offenders and safer communities.”