Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

The Sunday Post view: When our jails need revolving doors not gates, what’s the point?

Post Thumbnail

The Godfather Part II will always have its fans, of course, but, as any true aficionado of the silver screen agrees, Paddington 2 is, undeniably, indisputably, the best sequel ever.

The scenes when our little ursine hero is wrongly incarcerated are particularly affecting as he placates Knuckles McGinty, a blood-curdling prison cook, with his recipe for marmalade sandwiches.

Even fans of the diminutive Peruvian bear would, however, admit the movie may not be the most realistic account of life behind bars. For that, Time, the BBC’s recent three-part drama, is probably a better bet. Relentless and unflinching, it is the opposite of feelgood TV but its depiction of prison as a dismal depository for men broken by drugs and drink, poverty, abuse, violence, and circumstance, is as harrowing as it is accurate.

Diagnosed or not, mental ill-health is everywhere inside and it is making no excuse for criminals or suggesting their crimes should go unpunished, to ask the point of it all? Some of these men are a threat to the public but most are not, so what exactly do we gain by keeping them off the streets for a bit before releasing them to resume lives of chaos and crime.

Is it any wonder that so many of those actually working in Scotland’s criminal justice system believe prisons do not need gates but revolving doors. Would some of the millions spent on incarceration not be better spent trying to do something that might, just might, give offenders a stable foundation to build better, straighter lives?

What goes for men goes double for women. Many, if not most, if not nearly all, women who end up behind bars in Scotland have been shattered on the rocks of addiction and mental ill-health of one form or another. They are in prison because they have committed crime but many need psychiatric care not incarceration.

‘Jail, drugs, jail, drugs’: Experts say there are too many women on remand with too little support to stabilise their lives

Why, as we report today, one in four of the women locked up in Scotland is still to face trial when many will not be given a custodial sentence when their case finally winds to court is anyone’s guess. It is not because we have a particularly draconian justice system – at least that would suggest a rational plan of action and reaction – it is simply dysfunction. A signal of a system that is founded on process not people; that does it this way because it’s always been done this way; that, for years and years, despite all ministers’ warm words, has failed to properly invest in effective community services capable of combining punishment with rehabilitation; that simply has nowhere to send these women but jail.

Sacro’s Shine, whose sterling work we also highlight today, offers help to women released from prison to give them time to take a breath, a chance to regroup. It is a practical, life-changing support service but there should be so many more like it.

If a society can be judged by how it treats its prisoners, it can be better judged on what is done to stop them being imprisoned in the first place. Scotland could, and must, do more.