News In Focus
Executive to end automatic early release
1 June 2006
The Scottish Executive has confirmed its intention to put an end to the automatic early release of prisoners.
Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said the system should be reformed so that judges imposing a sentence of more than 12 months would specify a minimum term in prison. If the prisoner was then deemed to be safe, he or she would then carry out a similar period of community service.
The proposals are likely to be introduced through a bill scheduled to be introduced later this year. The Sentencing Commission has already recommended that 12-month plus sentences should be clearly divided into prison time and service in the community.
Currently, prisoners serving sentences of less than four years are freed after serving half of their sentence, while those sentenced to more than four years are freed on licence after they have spent a maximum of two-thirds of their sentence in jail.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Executive said it was already committted to ending automatic early release and replacing it with a system that was easier for the public to understand.