McArthur: Address overcrowding through tough community sentences and drug treatment orders

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today urged ministers to reduce prison overcrowding by investing in tough community sentences and drug treatment orders after new figures revealed a fall in the number of social work orders and reports.

Commenting on new statistics which show the successful completion rate for drug treatment and testing orders was 40% in 2017-18, the lowest in the last seven years, Liam McArthur said:

“It’s extremely disheartening to see drug treatment and testing completion rates have slipped to their lowest level in seven years.

“Local authorities deliver these important services and this year’s budget spells more bad news for council funds. What hope is there for rehabilitation programmes if the support and funding aren’t behind them?

“Ministers need to face up to this sorry state of affairs and tackle drug misuse by investing in people’s recovery.”

Commenting on the news that the presumption against short-term prison sentences will be extended from 3 months to 12 months from this summer, Mr 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 shift away from these destructive sentences frankly can’t come soon enough.

“Prison populations are spiralling. Scottish Liberal Democrats recently revealed that two thirds of Scottish prisons are now at 100% occupancy or higher. That kind of strain puts prisoners and prison officers at risk.

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

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