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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5O-01261: Fee, Mary (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 13 September 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it will take to increase the use of alternatives to prison.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 20 September 2017

The Scottish Government's Vision and Priorities for Justice in Scotland, launched in July of this year, focuses on the development of a more progressive, evidence-based justice system. That evidence shows that robust community sentences have lower reconviction rates than short-term prison sentences.

In the Programme for Government launched earlier this month we pledged to extend the presumption against short sentences to
12 months, in order to encourage the greater use of community sentences, which in turn will reduce the numbers serving ineffective short custodial sentences. We also announced plans for a Management of Offenders Bill which will expand and strengthen the use of tagging as part of our commitment to reducing offending and making our communities safer.

We remain committed to supporting local authorities in delivering robust community sentences that deliver tangible benefits for communities, and funding for criminal justice social work remains at record levels at around £100 million. We invested an additional £4 million in community sentences in 2016-17 and again in 2017-18.