Prison Population

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 15th January 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

After a number of years of relative stability, the average prison population has increased over the past year. Scotland currently has the highest imprisonment rate in western Europe, with around 144 per 100,000 of the population incarcerated.

The most recent projections suggest that, over the next 12 months, population levels are likely to average around 8,000. Scottish Government officials are working with the Scottish Prison Service to consider the immediate issues that are associated with that. In addition, we have committed to take action to reduce the numbers of people entering prison for short-term periods. In the budget, we confirmed additional funding to local authorities to increase the availability of alternatives to remand. We have also increased funding over recent years to support the availability of community sentences.

Once provisions in the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 come into force from April this year, we will also bring forward the necessary secondary legislation to extend the current presumption against short sentences from three months to 12 months.