Scottish Government to toughen community sentences

The Scotsman Newspaper reports that the Justice Secretary, Kenny McAskill MSP, has announced plans to toughen up community sentences. This is part of a long-term justice strategy of the SNP administration which will see the end of short custodial sentences (less than 6 months) and an increased use of community sentences as opposed to custodial ones.

This plan appeals to me. Far too many people are wasting away in prison pointlessly. We send far too many people to prison and most of those who we do send could benefit more from a community sentence.

Mr McAskill said:

We know that just under three-quarters of people released from prison sentences of six months or less are reconvicted within two years – but for those given non-custodial sentences such as Community Service Orders the rate is 42 per cent…

Low level offenders should be paying back the harm they have caused to communities through the sweat of their brow. Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for their free bed and board and three square meals.