Female Prisoners (Remand)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd June 2021.

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Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

It is difficult at topical questions if members ask about something and get answers about a whole policy that they did not ask about. I am asking about remand. At the end of April, close to one in four prisoners in Scotland were on remand, and nearly 42.6 per cent of young people aged between 16 and 20 who were in prison were on remand. Of people held on remand, 57 per cent do not go on to receive a prison sentence—either they are found not guilty or they receive a community sentence. I am not confident that the Scottish Government really accepts the importance of the issue and the human rights considerations.

What is the Scottish Government’s approach to the issue in terms of human rights? In January last year, the Scottish Government commissioned research into the reasons behind decisions on bail and remand, with the aim of trying to reduce the number of people on remand, but that research was put on hold. I acknowledge that that was due to the pandemic, but when will that research be recommenced?