McArthur: Madness of short-term sentencing revealed

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today called for a change in attitude towards short-term sentences, after new statistics released by the Scottish Government showed that 59% of those imprisoned for 3 months or less reoffended within a year of their release.

Commenting on the publication of reconviction rates for 2015-16, Mr McArthur said:

"The overall decrease in reconviction rates can't hide the madness of Scotland's short-term sentencing policy.

"Well over half of those given a short stint in prison reoffend within a year of their release. This shows, yet again, that short-term sentences don't work. They are less effective at rehabilitating people than robust, community-based sentences.

"Prison inspectors have confirmed that the result of this policy is more victims of crime in future.

"The Scottish Government needs to get on and introduce a presumption against sentences of less than 12 months. We need a genuine change in attitude."


Notes to editors

The reconviction statistics for 2015/16 can be found at

The final report of former HMIPS David Strang identified people being sent to prison on short sentences, "whose incarceration is more likely to result in further victims of crime". It is available at:

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