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Problem solving court aims to break cycle of alcohol abuse

It is hoped the alcohol court will replicate Edinburgh's success

A pilot “alcohol court” has been launched in Glasgow which will give offenders rehabilitation orders instead of prison sentences.

The scheme, supported by Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, aims to interrupt the pattern of offending among Glasgow residents dependent on alcohol who have committed less serious crimes and instead offenders will be obliged to commit to intense social work supervision.

Their progress will be monitored in court by the presiding sheriff.

Locals who are convicted in the sheriff summary court of charges involving violence or dishonesty, public order offences or circumstances where alcohol abuse appears to have contributed significantly to the offending will be eligible.

The target group is those aged under 35 with two or more convictions for similar offences but this will remain under review.

If the presiding sheriff in a case at the stage of conviction decides that an offender is suitable for the problem solving approach, they can request an Alcohol Court Assessment Report and adjourn the sentence to the next appropriate alcohol court.

Domestic abuse offenders or suspects will not be considered.

Other problem solving courts are already in place in Scotland in Aberdeen and Forfar, while a drug problem court has been running in Glasgow since 2001 and an alcohol problem court was set up in Edinburgh in 2016.

No date has been set for the first court as it will take time for cases to build up. It will initially sit on demand.