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The Purpose of Probation/Criminal Justice Services Liaison

The main object of liaising with the Probation Services (in England and Wales) and the Criminal Justice Social Work Services (in Scotland) is to carry the message that AA exists, and that its members are freely available to help those who have got into trouble under the Criminal Justice System because of their drinking. It is estimated that a significant number of cases coming before the courts involve some element of alcohol abuse, and that many of those appearing in such cases have a history of sentences for re-offending. It is hoped that liaison with AA will provide an opportunity to help reduce this.

The Differences between Criminal Justice Services in Scotland and Probation in England and Wales

In terms of the work that is actually carried out in the supervision of offenders in the community, the range of activities is very much the same in all parts of Great Britain, whether in England, Scotland or Wales. The main services that are provided are as follows:

  • Providing effective supervision of offenders within the community
  • Assisting offenders to recognise the impact of their behaviour on themselves, their families, the community and others
  • Assisting with problems related to offending e.g. drug/alcohol use
  • Assisting individuals to make those practical and behavioural changes required to sustain a reduction in offending in the longer term
  • Assisting those released from prison to settle back into the community
  • Increasing community safety by reducing and managing risk
  • Providing the Court with a range of effective alternatives to prison

However, there are major organisational differences in offender management in Scotland and England and Wales. In England and Wales, the supervision of offenders in the community is the responsibility of the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies. In Scotland, the supervision of offenders in the community is the responsibility of the Criminal Justice Social Work Services that are provided by local authority Social Services departments.

The liaison activity that is carried out by intergroup and region Liaison Officers is the same in all parts of the country, the only difference being the actual department the liaison officer contacts.

The Probation/Criminal Justice Services Sub-committee

The overall aim of the Sub-committee is to raise awareness of the work of the Probation and Criminal Justice Services in Great Britain throughout the Fellowship, and to support Fellowship members who are working in this service discipline. Each member has responsibility for liaising with a number of geographically adjacent AA regions, so as to offer support and encouragement to Liaison Officers in establishing working relationships with local Probation and Criminal Justice Social Work Services. This involves contact with regional Liaison Officers, receiving reports from them, offering to give presentations at regional and intergroup Assemblies, and being available for discussion and advice. The Sub-committee also produces resources for Liaison Officers to help them in their work. The resources developed so far can be found in the ‘Resources for You’ section.

The Sub-committee can be contacted using the following email addresses: probation-sub-sec@aa-email.org.uk or probation-sub-gsb@aa-email.org.uk.