Gavin Newlands MP

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, and member of the House of Commons Justice Committee, has welcomed official figures that show that Scotland’s progressive approach to justice is paying off, with communities benefiting from around 7 million hours of work by people serving Community Payback Orders.

In Scotland, the use of custodial sentences under 3 months has fallen over the last decade, and re-conviction rates are at a 19 year low. Since their introduction in 2011, community sentences have been shown to work in preventing re-offending.

The Tories in Scotland have launched narrow-minded attacks on the replacement of short prison sentences with community sentences, calling the approach “soft touch” – in spite of clear evidence that it is the right approach. Their hypocrisy was exposed when Tory Minister Rory Stewart stated that “not overusing short prison sentences inappropriately is a good lesson from Scotland from which we wish to learn.”

Gavin Newlands MP

Commenting, Newlands said:

“It is clear that the SNP’s approach to justice is working. Scotland is now a safer place than it was a decade ago thanks to policies which make a real difference to our communities. Short term prison sentences often simply lead to reoffending and can ruin entire lives and tear apart families.

“Tories like Minister Rory Stewart are keen to learn the lessons of the SNP Scottish Government on justice, so why are Tories in Scotland not willing to do the same?

“These recent statistics prove that the Scottish approach is working and that we can have a justice system that rehabilitates, cuts the numbers of re-offences down, and helps victims.”