The report of the Scottish Prisons Commission examines the use of imprisonment in Scottish society and makes recommendations for a radical overhaul of current policies.
The report observes that:
- Scotland imprisons more of its people than many other places in Europe.
- The prison population has increased in every year of this century; it is projected to reach 8,700 inmates by 2016.
- Increased use of prisons is the result of using it for those who are troubled and troubling rather than dangerous.
- Prisons draw their inmates from the least well-off communities.
- High prison populations do not reduce crime; they are more likely to create pressures that drive reoffending than to reduce it.
The recommendations by Scotland's Choice include:
- Imprisonment should be reserved for people whose offences are so serious that no other form of punishment will do and for those who pose a threat of serious harm to the public.
- Paying back in the community should become the default position in dealing with less serious offenders.
- The establishment of a National Sentencing Council and a National Community Justice Council, with a view to radically altering current sentencing practice.
- A target of reducing the prison population to an average daily population of 5,000.
For more information, see the report, available in pdf format above or at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/spc.