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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-20884: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 10 January 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-20604 by Humza Yousaf on 8 January 2019, and in light of its answer to question S4W-28511, for what reason the data is no longer available.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 30 January 2019

The information requested in S5W-20604 could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

As stated in the answer to S5W-20604, the operational databases utilised by the Scottish Prison Service and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service are not designed to capture the length of time individuals spend on remand. This is because the databases are live, updating on a daily basis to capture movements (e.g. to/from remand) within the prison population and case progression.

The Scottish Government holds detailed historical prison population data up to 2014. This dataset was compiled using daily extracts from the live Scottish Prison Service operational database. Due to technological difficulties arising when the Scottish Government server was upgraded in 2014, it is no longer possible to support what was a complex and resource intensive data cleaning and compilation process. Since 2014, the Scottish Prison Service have continued to extract this data, but it is not currently held in an analysable format.

The Scottish Government are currently working with the Scottish Prison Service to develop a shared approach to publishing the data captured by the operational database (as well as the range of historical data held) and making more data and information accessible to users.