Reported by The Scotsman – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

Attempts are being made to reduce Scotland’s prison population by introducing a presumption against sentences of less than a year.

Justice secretary Humza Yousaf yesterday said he would bring forward plans to extend the current presumption from three months to 12, putting greater emphasis on community sentences.

Figures published yesterday by the Scottish Government show more than 30 per cent of Community Payback Orders (CPOs) in 2017/18 were not completed, while the completion rate for drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs) fell to 40 per cent – the lowest level in seven years.

There were 17,800 CPOs begun in 2017/18, a disposal introduced by the Scottish Government in 2011 which usually involves some form of unpaid work.

Extending the presumption against sentences of up to 12 months is supported by both Labour and the Lib Dems, but the Conservatives claim the move amounts to “soft touch justice”.

Labour’s justice spokesman, Daniel Johnson, said: “Our justice system should pursue sentences that deliver proper rehabilitation where possible. We welcome the presumption against short sentences, as evidence suggests that they offer limited opportunities for rehabilitation and training.

“While we welcome this change, a presumption against short sentences further underlines the need to strengthen our community justice system.”

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur said: “Introducing a presumption against short-term sentences of less than 12 months is a common sense move that Scottish Liberal Democrats have demanded for years.

“The evidence shows that community sentences are better than prison at reducing the chance of these people re-offending, meaning communities are safer.”



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