Community Justice

Breaking Chains Building Change 3by2

Breaking Chains Building Change Cover
Cover of Breaking Chains Building Change Community Justice Working Group Report

In 2020, in response to a rekindled interest in the historic penal concerns, a Scottish Quaker Community Justice Network was formed to explore how community rather criminal justice could become the norm. We started from the Quaker testimonies of peace, equality and justice, seeking growing points to bring about a just and compassionate society. We recognised that the inequalities in our society contribute hugely to the violence within it, the harms done and offences committed. In the Scottish situation, we are concerned that violence against women must be addressed to enable change.

Cover of Breaking Chains Building Change

Cover of Breaking Chains Building Change
A Scottish Quaker Community Justice Working Group appointed by General Meeting for Scotland liaises with the network and acts as the voice for Quakers in Scotland. Since its formation in June 2021 the working group has made responses to various government consultations. We have also made some links with the Scottish Prison chaplaincy service - seeking ways for Quakers to be in all Scottish prisons.

Quakers support reliance on community sentences and restorative justice, except for some people who have already and are assessed as likely to commit further serious offences. Quakers have been promoting the use of restorative justice for some time: it engages the person who is offended against with the person who has harmed them, and offers resolution for both “victim” and “offender” as a way of allowing them to reintegrate with society and move on.

Alongside support for support enlightened and transformative programmes, the Quaker focus is on seeking more compassionate justice, including drastic reduction of the of prisons. Currently, the prison system is in crisis, emphasised by the pandemic - a desperate and soulless place both to live in as a prisoner and to work in.