CONCERNS have been raised about the number of pregnant women who have served short-term prison sentences in the last five years.
Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show that since 2013 there have been 104 pregnant women in jail.
Of these, 37 were given sentences of less than 12 months and 31 gave birth while behind bars.
The party’s justice spokesman, Liam McArthur, urged the Scottish Government to press ahead with its plan to introduce a presumption against jail sentences of less than 12 months.
He said: “The fact that 37 expectant mothers have been given destructive short-term sentences in recent years should have alarm bells ringing.
“All the evidence shows that short-term sentences don’t work and are less effective than robust community-based disposals in reducing re-offending.”
He added that rates of re-offending amongst those who have served short stints in prison are “sky high”.
A Scottish Government spokesman said reducing the use of short-term imprisonment, and increasing the use of robust community sentences, is part of its smarter approach. He added: “Our new female custodial estate is designed to support family contact.”