Justice and Safety
The week in review
This week’s round up includes a newly launched consultation on defamation, the latest on a review of mental health support for young people in custody and work to stop young people from running away.
A new consultation on defamation – the damaging of an individual’s reputation through false communication – was launched on Monday 14 January. The public is being invited to help reform a number of aspects of defamation law.
Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said:
“Defamation law potentially affects everyone, and it is crucial that we ensure the law is fit for modern Scotland.
“The enormous growth in the use of social media presents new challenges and means that defamatory communication is becoming increasingly instant and common.”
Supporting young people in custody
A leading Consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist is to oversee the independent review of mental health and wellbeing support for young people in custody.
Dr Helen Smith will work closely with the HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland and others to review support for young people in HM Prison & Young Offenders Institution Polmont.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“We have made both suicide prevention and reforming young people’s mental health key priorities with a significant focus on early intervention. Some of this will be achieved through the Children and Young People’s Taskforce, led by Denise Coia and the Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, chaired by Rose Fitzpatrick.
“However, it is imperative that we take a focused approach to addressing concerns that have been raised about support for young people in custody. This Expert Review will provide that.”
Drug driving limits
New drug driving limits will come into force on 21 October this year, making it easier to hold drug drivers to account. There will be a zero tolerance approach to eight drugs most associated with illegal use, with limits set at a level where any claims of accidental exposure can be ruled out.
Meanwhile, a list of other drugs associated with medical use will have limits based on impairment and risk to road safety.
Study on head injuries and offending behaviour
PLOS | ONE published a study this week looking at the association between brain injuries and offending behaviour. The research strengthens our understanding of offending and of the healthcare history of people in prisons.
In 2019/20 the Scottish Government will invest in further research focused on health and social care in prisons, and in October we will be welcoming experts from all over the world to Edinburgh for the fifth Law Enforcement and Public Health (LEPH) conference, where we will be highlighting Scotland’s collaborative approach to health and justice.
Raising awareness of the risks of young people running away
Two leading charities are joining forces to develop materials to educate children and young people about the dangers of going missing and encouraging them to access support.
Missing People and Barnardos have been jointly awarded £30,000 to develop the new resource in consultation with children and young people and Education Scotland. The project supports the goals of Scotland’s National Missing Persons Framework, which aims to help prevent individuals from running away.