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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-21538: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 7 February 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the "technical issue" that is currently affecting data from 2014-15 on its Crime and Justice – Publications – Prisons webpage.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 1 March 2019

The Scottish Government holds detailed historical prison population data up to 2014. This dataset was used to produce the annual prison statistics reports published on the Scottish Government website.

As explained in the answer to S5W-20884 on 30 January 2019, the dataset was compiled by the Scottish Government 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 the 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. When the shared approach has been agreed with the Scottish Prison Service, the Scottish Government will provide an update for users via the Scottish Government webpages and other appropriate communication channels.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .