New reconviction rates statistics prove short-term sentences “short-sighted”

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today stressed the importance of ending “short-sighted” short-term prison sentences, after new statistics released by the Scottish Government showed that over half of those given the shortest stints in prison reoffend within a year of their release.

For community payback orders (CPOs) the rate of reconvictions was 31.2% in 2016-17.

Commenting on the publication, Liam McArthur said:

“Short sentences are short-sighted and put a huge burden on our prison service while failing to reduce reoffending. Prison inspectors have confirmed that the result is more victims of crime in future.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have been calling for a presumption against short sentences for years. This means that instead of funnelling people into an environment packed with hardened criminals, they can serve tough community-based sentences which are indisputably more effective.

“We have seen some progress from the Scottish Government on this issue, but there’s lots more to do to ensure that these sentences are properly resourced and effectively utilised. It’s the best option for the individual and the community they return to.”

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