Automatic early release to be scrapped for long-term prisoners

Written by Alan Robertson on 3 February 2015 in News

First Minister announces proposed legislation will now extend to all prisoners serving four years plus

Automatic early release will be ended for all offenders serving four or more years in prison, the Scottish Government has announced.

The Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill, which is currently passing through Holyrood, will be tightened to prevent any long-term prisoner automatically being liberated after two thirds of their sentence. 

Under current provisions, an offender sentenced to four or more years may be released on licence after serving at least half their sentence, irrespective of the type of offence. If not already released, the prisoner must be released on licence after serving two-thirds of the sentence.

Ministers had intended to end automatic early release for sex offenders sentenced to four years or more as well as serious offenders sentenced to over 10 years.

However, the plans faced resistance from a number of criminal justice experts amid concerns over the ending of a compulsory period of supervision on licence in the community.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced this morning that provisions within the Bill will now be extended to encompass all prisoners serving long-term sentences.

Sturgeon also announced that a guaranteed period of supervision would be put in place for prisoners guilty of serious offences, set out as part of their sentence.

“This is a concrete example of the Scottish Government delivering on our justice commitments – indeed, with today’s announcement we are going significantly further in ending automatic early release than our initial legislation had proposed,” she said.

“Following our recent announcement on Inverclyde and additional funding to reduce female offending, our justice policy is focused on ensuring that those serious offenders who should be in prison are in prison and when they are released, they have effective supervision. All of this will help protect our communities."




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