'Lifeline' charity supporting female offenders closes after two decades

Turning Point 218 closed its doors on February 14 after a previously agreed service budget was slashed.

‘Lifeline’ Turning Point Scotland service supporting female offenders closes after two decades STV News

A lifeline service supporting female offenders to rebuild their lives after drug and alcohol use has closed after two decades due to budget cuts.

Turning Point 218 closed its doors on February 14 after its budget offered by Glasgow City Council was slashed from £1.37m which was previously agreed to a maximum of £650,000.

The innovative service had opened its doors in December 2003 with the intention of offering women a “time out” of their normal, usually challenging circumstances – without resorting to a custodial sentence – where they could explore and address the causes of their offending behaviour.

It worked with approximately 50 women a year, for two decades and delivered a service providing options to improve the outcomes for women involved in the justice system and to address the root causes of their offending.

The service was originally a 12-bed residential unit and day programme, however, a review by the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership (GHSCP) included plans to reduce the bed capacity from 12 to eight women.

Turning Point Scotland (TPS) had previously participated in a review of the 218 service with Glasgow City HSPC and an agreed service specification with a budget for the service of £1.37m for the service to run with eight beds.

However, in September it was told by the council that the budget had been slashed and 218 would only qualify for £650,000 – less than half of the agreed amount.

Turning Point then decided not to bid for the tender because it said it could not operate the residential unit on the proposed amount.

Staff within the service were supported alongside Unite the Union through consultation to identify individual options for suitable redeployment to enable the organisation to retain the knowledge, skills and experience of valuable staff.

Nic Middlemiss, head of justice at Turning Point Scotland said: “We believe that 218 offered a comprehensive programme of support, as an alternative to a custodial sentence.

“The service aimed to address the root causes of women’s offending, by offering a therapeutic, trauma informed programme for women to actively engage in their own personal recovery journey. The loss of this service is likely to lead to more women in custody and trapped within the justice system.”

Glasgow City Council has been contacted for comment.

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