McArthur demands minister “pull the plug” on short-term sentences

Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today urged ministers to “pull the plug” on short-term stints in prison and invest in robust community sentences.

During question time in the Chamber today, Mr McArthur referred to recent statistics demonstrating that reoffending rates were the lowest among those who received a Community Payback Order. He highlighted that those who receive a short custodial sentence of three months or less, contrary to the current presumption, have the highest rates of reoffending.

Commenting after question time, Mr. McArthur said:

“The evidence is there and it’s clear: reducing reoffending can best be achieved by reducing short-term sentences and investing in robust community-based disposals.

“It is time the Cabinet Secretary pulled the plug on damaging short stints in prison. A year on from the end of the government’s own consultation on this issue, and despite all the expert evidence, Mr Matheson is still unable to give a firm commitment to when he will act.

“It is time to end the pointless punitive approach and be led by what works for offenders and communities, bringing our justice system firmly into the 21st century.”

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