West Lothian College Health and Social Care and Social Science students recently benefitted from an informative and inspiring session delivered by Simon Ashpool, Peter Smith and Rebecca Worrall from Community Justice Scotland.

Community justice covers alternatives to traditional prison sentences, and focuses on rehabilitation in a tailored way, with sentences often being served in the community.
Community Justice Scotland is the national agency for the community justice movement and provides development and training opportunities to partners, with the ultimate aim of encouraging more open discussion, sharing positive examples and removing negative preconceptions.

The session explored the concept of community justice and the opportunities for this type of sentencing. Students benefited from first-hand accounts of the positive impact of community justice, real life stories of hope and a detailed account of how this type of justice can be managed.

The student groups began by exploring the functions of the justice system in Scotland.and were provided with the statistical picture for community justice from which they explored figures associated with reoffending, the prison population and the effectiveness of community sentences. Perceptions and judgements were both explored and challenged and learning conversations about the lives behind each image made links between adverse childhood experiences, trauma and criminal behaviours. These links were further supported by using the social learning model of antecedents, behaviours and consequences. As the workshop drew to a close potential careers and the roles associated with Community Justice Services were discussed in detail.

Community Justice Scotland also opened the exhibition out to all West Lothian College students and staff, with many taking the opportunity to engage in discussion.

Alister Charnley, Head of Centre for Health and Social Care, Science and Social Sciences said: “Huge thank you to the team from Community Justice Scotland for taking the time to come into college and deliver these sessions to our students. The students really enjoyed this educational experience and will take many of the lessons learned through into their further studies or future employment.”