McArthur reveals Barlinnie at 147% capacity

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has obtained new figures showing Barlinnie prison is now almost 500 people over capacity.

It comes at the same time as the Scottish Government has published the parliamentary order which will introduce a new presumption against prison sentences of less than 12 months. The Scottish Liberal Democrats have pressed the Scottish Government to introduce a 12-month presumption since 2016.

Commenting on the new prison overcrowding figures, Liam McArthur MSP commented:

“The majority of Scotland’s prisons are overcrowded, with Barlinnie running at 147% of its capacity. With almost 500 extra people crammed in to this prison alone it is no wonder there are reports that there aren’t enough beds to go around.

“Overcrowding on this scale puts prison staff and inmates at risk. We already know that self-harm in prison is on the rise.

“The evidence shows that community sentences are better than prison at reducing the chance of people reoffending, meaning communities are safer. That is why Liberal Democrats have consistently called for a presumption against sentences of less than 12 months.

“Additional investment will be required in the short term, but the resulting savings can be reinvested into making community-based sentences robust. This means prison can be seen as the alternative to community-based sentences, rather than the other way around.”

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