Prison Population

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

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Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

I will look to provide the member with fuller detail as a follow-up, as I do not have it all in front of me.

However, the Scottish Government is absolutely committed to learning lessons from the variety of reviews that have taken place of the specific issue of female offending. We know that women offend and are imprisoned for very complex reasons that can often be quite different from those that apply to the male offending population. Our plan for CCUs right across Scotland is taking shape. We have planning permission for units in Glasgow and Dundee, which is an important step forward.

From the numbers and the data that I have seen, the presumption against short sentences will have a disproportionately positive impact on the female offending population in comparison with the male offending population. However, that is just one measure that we wish to implement. We have to look at the male offending population as well—of course, men make up the vast majority of the prison population—to see what radical measures we need to introduce to reduce the prison population. It is important that we, as a society, do not get comfortable—and we, as a Government, certainly are not comfortable—with just imprisoning people and seeing the prison population continuing to rise.