Friday, 08 February 2019 11:59


The Tories have been labelled “patently ridiculous” after attacking justice reforms in the same week such measures were backed by the UK government as “smart justice”.

The Scottish Government is extending a presumption against short prison sentences as alternatives to custody, such as Community Payback Orders, are more effective at reducing reoffending. 

UK Justice Secretary David Gauke described effective alternatives to custody as “not soft justice but ‘smart’ justice” – while at the same time the UK party promoted a petition accusing the SNP of “soft touch justice” for taking the same approach. 

The UK government has previously admitted that there is “conclusive evidence” that the Scottish Government’s approach reduces reoffending.

Justice Minister Rory Stewart said last year: “We have a lot to learn from Scotland, specifically on community sentences, and indeed we will be looking at what more we can do to emphasise that a custodial sentence in the short term should be a final resort.”

Commenting, SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth said:

“In England, Tory ministers admit the SNP’s approach is ‘smart justice’. In Scotland, Tory MSPs attack the SNP for reforms their colleagues know will work. 

“It’s a patently ridiculous approach from a party more interested in soundbites than in making Scotland’s streets safer.  

“A justice system that pushes offenders through a revolving door of short prison sentences helps absolutely nobody – and only makes things worse. 

“If the UK government can admit they want to learn from our effective and progressive approach, it is frankly pathetic for Tory MSPs to beat a drum against those same reforms.”

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