Women Offenders

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 13th April 2005.

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Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour 2:30 pm, 13th April 2005

Last December, as members will recall, I published the criminal justice plan, which sets out plans for transforming Scotland's criminal justice system. It also sets out how I want us to move away from services that are too often volume led and demand driven towards services that can deliver speedy and visible criminal justice—services that not only challenge offending behaviour but reduce reoffending.

We are making progress. In the past month, I have published my plans for the reform of summary justice to deal more effectively with the vast majority of offences—those offences that persistently undermine our communities. Those proposals will at the same time make our courts more efficient, bringing offenders speedily and visibly to justice in ways that repair the harm that they have caused in communities. I have also introduced the Management of Offenders etc (Scotland) Bill, to join up arrangements for managing offenders in the community and in prison so that they are less likely to reoffend. Last week, the Sentencing Commission for Scotland published its first report setting out practical measures to make the system of bail and remand work better.

Those are three important strands in what I believe is the most far-reaching reform of criminal justice in a generation. However, the need for further reform is nowhere more evident than in the way in which we deal with women offenders.