Scottish Government to scrap early release

Alex Salmond announced the Government's legislative programme today. Picture: Jane Barlow
Alex Salmond announced the Government's legislative programme today. Picture: Jane Barlow
11
Have your say

The Scottish Government will scrap automatic early release from prison for the most serious violent and sexual offenders.

The commitment was outlined by First Minister Alex Salmond as he set out his programme for government for the year ahead.

“We have all now accepted the need to end the system of automatic early release which was brought in by the Conservative Government in 1993 and then left in place by the Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition here at Holyrood. It does not command public confidence,” he told MSPs at Holyrood on the first day back from their summer break.

“We are now in a position to end automatic early release for sexual offenders getting sentences of four years or more and for serious violent offenders.

“This follows our work to stabilise, and then to reduce over time, the prison population by implementing other recommendations of the McLeish Commission, such as introducing strong community-based sentences for less serious offenders.”

The plan will be taken forward in a Courts Reform Bill, one of 13 new pieces of legislation in the SNP Government’s programme.

But the package of Bills is likely to be overshadowed by the run up to the independence referendum in September next year.