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Mentoring is when you are matched with someone who has skills, experience or knowledge that might help you to achieve your goals.

There are a number of mentoring schemes running in Scotland, specifically for people who have been involved with the criminal justice system. Some are funded by the Scottish Government and others are run by independent charities. 

The benefits of mentoring include:

  • Help getting back on your feet after being arrested or spending time in prison
  • Support accessing advice including housing, benefits, job searches etc
  • A non-judgemental listening ear
  • Helping you to reach out to other support services
  • A positive relationship

Below we outline the major mentoring schemes available. The availability of each scheme will differ based on where you live.

Different schemes

National schemes

Shine Women’s Mentoring Service - The Shine Women's Mentoring service provides women with a mentor who will provide support on a one-to-one basis with many of the issues they might face in the community. A Shine mentor will discuss any issues the woman may have before participation with the programme. This will be done in prison, prior to release or in the community if serving a CPO.

New Routes Throughcare Mentoring Service - New Routes Throughcare Mentoring Service offers support, guidance and mentoring for short term male prison leavers to help them re-integrate with their communities.

Other schemes

Aid & Abet - (Edinburgh, Glasgow and Lothian) - with a focus on those who have been in custody, Aid & Abet is an initiative that is led by people who have, themselves, been in prison, mostly as a result of addiction problems. 

Bail Mentoring (Glasgow) - To prevent unnecessary custodial remands, re-offending on bail and non-attendance at court.

Sacro’s Veterans Mentoring Service - The service will work closely with the veteran to put an intensive support plan in place where strategies can be developed to cope with their specific needs. The aim of the service is to enable the service user to enjoy sustainable, independent living.

Grace Chocolates - Each woman is paired with a highly trained mentor who supports and encourages her to identify her goals and ambitions in order that she may maximise her potential, develop life skills and become the person she wants to be.

Cyrenians - This project involves paid peer mentors providing support to those going through the criminal justice system. This support will help them to access and navigate the range of services available to them and encourage them, through the peers' own experience, to think differently about their offending behaviour.

For young people

Includem - (Glasgow, Stirling, Fife, Dundee, Aberdeen) A Scottish youth support charity that works with young people to help them transform their lives. We provide intensive, bespoke support to young people and families in challenging circumstances. 


Unfortunately, many of the mentoring schemes have strict eligibility rules. The type of offence you have been convicted of may impact whether or not you are eligible.  

Offence types that can, in some cases, impact eligibility include:

  • Sexual offences
  • Offences against children
  • Offences which led to a long-term prison sentence
  • Offences which led to a Supervised Release Order
  • Violent crimes

Source: Community Justice Scotland, Voluntary Throughcare and Mentoring - Primary research findings, April 2023.

A table with examples of appropriate language use
A table showing the notification periods for the various sentence types. Prison sentence of 30 months or more (including life), Indefinite. Order for lifelong restriction, Indefinite. Admission to a hospital subject to a restriction order, Indefinite. Prison sentence of more than 6 months but less than 30 months, 10 years. Prison sentence of 6 months or less, 7 years. Admission to a hospital without a restriction order, 7 years. Community payback order with an offender supervision requirement, The length of the offender supervision requirement. Any other sentence (e.g. a fine or admonition), 5 years.
Last updated:
February 24, 2024


The following organisations offer support on this topic.

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