Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur has today warned that Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf “cannot just throw up his hands and pass the buck” after the Scottish Prison Service announced that all of its Throughcare Support Officers were being reassigned into general prison officer roles to deal with overcrowding in Scotland’s prisons.
It has been reported that the entire 44-person SPS team, employed to manage people’s transition from prison back to the community, is being redeployed.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said it was a decision for the prison service.
Mr McArthur said:
“All the evidence shows that properly resourced throughcare can make an enormous difference to ensuring that people released from prison don’t become repeat offenders.
“Our prisons are bursting at the seams. The suspension of this team is bad news for those serving custodial sentences and the safety of the communities they will return to.
“Under the SNP, the prison population has gone through the roof. The Justice Secretary cannot just throw up his hands and pass the buck. He has a responsibility to help the SPS restore this critical service.
“What we need is significant policy change on the part of a sluggish Scottish Government and a properly resourced prison service with a stronger focus on properly rehabilitating people.”