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Wise Group

By Bob Wylie

An independent report on re-offending has found that using reformed ex-prisoners as advisors to those leaving prison reduces the numbers of offenders who go back to jail.

The Edinburgh University report on the Wise Group’s Routes out of Prison project finds that ex-offenders who joined the project are 20 per cent less likely to go back to prison than the average prisoner on release.

Scotland’s Secretary of State, Michael Moore, says there might be important lessons to learn from this:

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Kenny MacAskill, Justice Secretary, is due to speak at major conference tomorrow on the enduring crisis with re-offending in Scotland.

Scotland currently imprisons twice as many people as Finland, Ireland, Denmark and Italy and has the highest reoffending rate in Europe.

The Wise Group will also be in attendance. They will be discussing their innovative Routes Out of Prison Project.

Derek McGill, the Governor of HMP Barlinnie, said: “If you take RooP it’s got a proven track record- it’s been successful … they seem to gain the trust and confidence of the offender and that’s crucial … if we don’t help the offenders they’ll just come back.”

The project employs life coaches, many of them ex-prisoners, who are able to focus on positive transformation of beliefs, attitudes and behaviours, and at the same time, provide practical bridging to existing services.

The conference, hosted by the Wise Group, will take place in Café Camino – St Mary’s Parish Centre in Edinburgh.

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