Rona Mackay questions justice secretary on impact of shorter sentences on prison population

Rona Mackay (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP): 

What impact will the presumption against short sentences have on the Scottish Prison Service?

Michael Matheson: 

The impact on the prison population of extending the presumption against short sentences to 12 months will depend on how sentencers choose to take it forward. For example, if there is a greater use of community sentencing, that could result in a reduction in the number of individuals who receive short-term prison sentences of less than 12 months.

As we have moved to a presumption against sentences of less than three months, we have seen a reduction in the number of people who have received sentences of less than three months. It would be reasonable to anticipate that we will see a reduction in the overall prison population should more of our sentencers choose not to sentence someone to custody for less than 12 months and to make use of a community disposal instead. However, that will depend entirely on how our judiciary chooses to take it forward.

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Rona Mackay was elected in May 2016 with a 8,100 majority in Strathkelvin and Bearsden.

Prior to this, she was a journalist in national newspapers for more than 20 years, before becoming Parliamentary Assistant to Clydebank and Milngavie MSP Gil Paterson, with whom she worked for nine years before becoming elected.



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