Women Prisoners (Support and Services)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 20th June 2019.

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Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Of course, it would be better if the vast majority of such women were not in custody. Some 90 per cent of women who are in custody are there for 12 months or less, so they would be affected disproportionately—in a good way—by the application of the presumption against short custodial sentences, which Margaret Mitchell does not support. It would be better if Ms Mitchell and the Conservatives supported the presumption, which would mean fewer women being in custody and, instead, being treated in the community for their problems with substance abuse and so on.

On the premise of Ms Mitchell’s question, which was about the services that are available, I advise her that we will always continue to fund the SPS for the important services that it provides. However, it would be much better if the Conservatives supported our presumption so that, instead of sending women to prison, we could treat them in the community, addressing the root causes of their offending instead of merely the symptoms.