Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 25th June 2019.

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Photo of John Finnie John Finnie Green

I am content with the provisions of section 7A, which was inserted in the bill at stage 2, so we will not support the cabinet secretary’s amendment 61, which seeks to remove section 7A.

Sadly, I will not support my colleague Daniel Johnson’s amendment 128, even though it is entirely well meaning. I think that there are a number of challenges connected with it. In any case, the provision of “meaningful activity” should be part of a robust discharge plan, for want of a better term. As the cabinet secretary outlined, there are practical issues around that.

However, we will support Daniel Johnson’s amendment 2. The cabinet secretary talked about statutory duties and good practice—indeed, he promised us wider legislation and statutory guidance—but he will know that everything that we have heard is about the accommodation challenge that people face when they are discharged. That remains an issue, which amendment 2 would go some way towards addressing. It would provide focus; perhaps that is the focus that the cabinet secretary is saying will come with the wider legislation or the statutory guidance that is—if I heard him correctly—intended.

The system is not working, at the moment. We need more robust provision of accommodation. Therefore, we will support Daniel Johnson’s amendment 2.