McArthur: New justice strategy fails to recognise rehabilitation

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today warned that the justice system needs a greater focus on rehabilitation as the Scottish Government announced details of its new justice strategy.

The report ‘Justice in Scotland: Vision and Priorities’ supersedes the ‘Strategy for Justice in Scotland’ published in 2012 and lays out the Scottish Government’s priorities for the justice system in Scotland.

Mr McArthur said:

“This strategy offers an opportunity for the Scottish Government to refresh their approach to the justice system. However, we need to see far greater ambition from the Scottish Government in tackling rehabilitation and ensuring that the justice system works more effectively for everyone.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats support early intervention with those at high risk of first-time offending, and will support the further transfer of resources from ineffective short prison sentences to robust and effective community justice options. But SNP ministers need to show they mean business. They could start by immediately announcing a new robust presumption against sentences of less than 12 months. 

“In addition we need to see an investment in mental health professionals co-located with the police and in prisons to provide a focus on effective rehabilitation and tackling problems associated with addiction and drug abuse. 

“These would be valuable first steps in a strategy that recognises the importance of rehabilitation within the criminal justice system.”

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