Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has repeated his call for the Scottish Government to roll-out throughcare to every prisoner after the scheme was credited with cutting reoffending.
Throughcare Support Officers were introduced at 11 Scottish Prison Service sites in 2015. The initiative aims to ensure people have arrangements in place for housing, medical provision and benefits when they leave prison. The officers provide support prior to release and continue to work with people once they back in the community.
An independent evaluation found that 78% of prisoners who received throughcare in the last two years had not returned to custody.
Mr McArthur commented:
"Nobody should ever be left at the prison gate with nowhere to go or without the services they need to start afresh. That is why Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently argued that ministers must roll-out throughcare to everyone, ensuring that support starts on the inside and seamlessly continues after release.
"HMIPS has reported that a third of prisoners at one institution didn't have an address to go to on release, reducing their ability to get a job, education or health care. Inspectors even reported that someone who slept in a tent for eight weeks after release turned to shoplifting in order to go back to prison for the sake of a warm, dry bed.
"The system is fundamentally failing if people are reoffending simply in order to find somewhere to sleep or a meal.
"Throughcare has shown what can be achieved that is why Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently called for it be given to everybody leaving prison."