Prisoners (Assessment)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 20 April 2022.

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Photo of Douglas Lumsden Douglas Lumsden Conservative

8. To ask the Scottish Government what role prisons have in the assessment of prisoners, including of their mental health, prior to their release. (S6O-00965)

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

People in custody are subject to a range of assessments while in prison, including talk to me and general wellbeing. The national health service provides access to appropriate mental health support and assessment, including more specialist care when that is appropriate. The Scottish Prison Service works collaboratively on pre-release arrangements with community partners, which facilitates access to people in its care to support multidisciplinary assessments, for example to access throughcare services.

Photo of Douglas Lumsden Douglas Lumsden Conservative

In December 2019, Stuart Quinn was released from HMP Peterhead and, the next day, murdered devoted dad Alan Geddes in Aberdeen. I keep in touch with Alan’s sister Sandra, who strongly believes that her brother would still be alive today if Quinn’s previous convictions and psychopathic behaviour had been properly assessed. Lessons need to be learned to ensure that something like that never happens again. Will the cabinet secretary meet me and Alan’s family to discuss what more can be done to improve the system when a prisoner with a serious, unresolved mental health issue is released from prison?

Photo of Keith Brown Keith Brown Scottish National Party

First, I extend my condolences to Mr Geddes’s family. Of course, I am willing to meet the member and the family.

Such assessments are extremely difficult to do, but we should always continue to improve the system over time because, as in this case, people’s lives can depend on it.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

That concludes portfolio questions on justice and veterans.