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Views wanted on proposed overhaul of prison system

The Scottish Government is proposing an overhaul of the prison system (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The Scottish Government is proposing an overhaul of the prison system (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Plans to overhaul the prison system in Scotland are to be examined by MSPs.

Holyrood’s Criminal Justice Committee is calling for views on the matter, ahead of hearings set to take place later in the year.

The Scottish Government’s Bail and Release from Custody (Scotland) Bill looks to refocus the way remand is used in Scotland’s prisons, with an emphasis on reserving it for those who pose a risk to public safety or wilfully fail to turn up for trials.

The Bill also aims to put greater focus on offering rehabilitation to help people resettle in their communities.

Proposals include issuing new national standards for support for those leaving prison, as well as putting an end to releases taking place on Fridays or the day before a public holiday in order to offer more access to support.

A new test for the courts to apply when deciding to remand accused persons in custody would be put in place and complainer safety would be recognised as a specific factor in decision-making, while information about prisoner release would be provided to victims’ organisations.

Views can be submitted to the committee over the summer, with a report on the findings to follow.

Committee convener Audrey Nicoll said: “These plans propose important changes to the criminal justice system in Scotland.

“We want to hear the range of views on them which exist across Scotland, not least from victims of crime, those with experience of prison and the families and communities around these people.”