Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today called on the Scottish Government to ensure that robust, properly-funded community-based options are delivered.
The calls follow his party securing the Scottish Government’s commitment in the Programme for Government for their long term campaign for the introduction of a presumption against ineffective short-term prison sentences.
Responding to the Justice Secretary’s Community Justice statement in Parliament today, Mr McArthur urged for “significant resources” to be committed to community sentences.
Following the exchange in the chamber, Mr McArthur said:
"For years, Scottish Liberal Democrats have led the campaign against ineffective short sentences. I welcome, therefore, the Scottish Government’s recognition at last that this is a sensible solution for both offenders and communities.
“To be effective, however, this move must be coupled with adequate new resources for community options to match the real costs of significantly expanding provision. This is the message from organisations including COSLA and SACRO, who are working at the frontline.
"The tens of thousands of pounds saved by not sending someone to prison should be reinvested to ensure the community sentence they will receive instead is available and up to the job.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats are therefore committed to keeping pressure on the Scottish Government. These liberal reforms to our justice system must now be backed by the resources necessary to make them a success."