Women Offenders

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:43 pm on 13th April 2005.

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Photo of Bill Aitken Bill Aitken Conservative 3:43 pm, 13th April 2005

The member should give me time. It is a fact that fines are frequently imposed on people who are unemployed. I am sorry, but even though their benefit may have been fixed at a low level, the money must be paid. The disposal of community service is not always available to district court judges. It is available in the stipendiary magistrate courts in Glasgow.

The 218 time-out centre was an innovative idea, but I am afraid that the jury is out on whether it will be successful. What I hear may be apocryphal, but I think that there have been problems with it.

We must consider all the arguments. Much can be taken out of the debate; it is a pity that it is not longer. There are measures that can be taken to reduce the female population in prison, but they must be applied with a degree of realism, common sense and—dare I say it—innovation.