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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14735: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 19 February 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what it considers is the most appropriate prison accommodation for sex offenders, and (a) how many and (b) what proportion of prisoners who are sex offenders (i) are and (ii) are not accommodated in this manner.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 28 February 2018

I have asked Colin McConnell, Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service, to respond. His response is as follows:

SPS allocation criteria determines that those in our care should be designated to the establishment which provides the most appropriate regime to meet their identified needs. Wherever possible, this should be the establishment closest to the individual’s home. Whilst some regimes are specifically tailored for those convicted of a sexual offence, what is considered appropriate accommodation is dependent on an individual’s circumstances. It may at times be necessary to allocate an individual to an alternative establishment where their needs can be better met or when good order or security needs to be maintained.

Individuals with convictions for sexual offences are, so far as reasonably practicable, held and managed separately from the wider prison population. SPS currently hold 1,196 people in custody as a result of either being convicted of a sexual offence or being held on remand having been charged with a sexual offence.

Overall, 993 (83%) people in our care as a result of sexual offences are currently being managed in accommodation specifically intended for this group, with 203 (17%) currently being managed at other sites. Those individuals, who are not in a specifically tailored regime, are managed in a way that maintains safety and affords people the opportunity to engage with appropriate service providers according to their level of risk and need.