Scottish Government Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf MSP was welcomed by staff at the Glen Isla Project on his visit to hear about the excellent work undertaken at the centre.
The Glen Isla Project was established in 2014 to work specifically with women in Angus who are going through the criminal justice system with a view to improving outcomes for those women.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: ““The Glen Isla Project is a great example of a community based project focussed on helping women who have been involved in offending to turn their lives around. We are committed to reducing the use of short term imprisonment and preventing reoffending and trauma-informed interventions such as the Glen Isla project can make a real difference. We have provided annual funding of £1.5 million to support services to reduce the use of remand for women alongside over £100 million to support community justice interventions, which has contributed to a 19 year low in reconviction rates.”
Created following the findings of the Commission on Women Offenders*, the Glen Isla Project is a collaborative initiative run by Angus Council’s Criminal Justice Service, NHS Tayside and Tayside Council on Alcohol. Its work with women at times of crisis in their lives has been widely and positively acknowledged and the Project has played a crucial role in transforming traumatic and often chaotic women’s lives.
The Cabinet Secretary was invited to visit the Glen Isla Project by Angus South Constituency MSP Graeme Dey. Mr Dey commented: “I know from having visited it previously, the excellent work that is taking place at the Glen Isla Project. I have highlighted this in Parliament and was delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to Arbroath so that he could hear directly from the staff and service users about the programmes that are being delivered there.”
Cllr Julie Bell, who is an elected member on the Angus Community Justice Partnership, said: “The Glen Isla Project has a very clear purpose through its trauma-informed, relationship-based work with women. All women are valuable members of society and those who find themselves caught up in the Criminal Justice Service have the capacity to change their lives for the better – with the right support, respect and dignity, and by being valued. I’m enormously proud of the work being done in the Glen Isla Project, as it achieves positive outcomes for women and, in so doing, positive outcomes for families and communities.”
The service works in partnership with other agencies to promote inclusion and personal development and, through its creative group work programme, offers women a chance to engage, develop and grow.
The Glen Isla Project also provides opportunities for women to address personal issues and access relevant services and resources, as well as providing reports for court and establishing case management plans for women, based on needs, goals and desired outcomes.
*The Commission was established by the Scottish Government in June 2011 to look at ways to improve outcomes for women in the criminal justice system. The Commission, which was chaired by The Right Hon Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC, operated independently of the Scottish Government. It held its first meeting on 24 August 2011 and spent the following eight months taking evidence from a wide range of stakeholders both orally and in writing, as well as visiting prisons and community based criminal justice projects.