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Support for early release Bill 19/03/2015 The Justice Committee has published a report welcoming plans to end the current system of automatic early release for certain types of prisoner

Support for early release Bill

The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee has published a report welcoming plans to end the current system of automatic early release (AER) for certain types of prisoner, although it did highlight a few areas of concern.

In particular, the Committee noted that the Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill will require further amendment at Stage 2 to include revised provisions on compulsory supervision and to end AER for all long-term prisoners, as set out by the Cabinet Secretary of Justice during the Stage 1 process.

The Committee is also looking for greater reassurance over Committee and witness concerns around the detail of how such supervisions will be provided and on the availability of rehabilitation programmes in prison.

“The Committee welcomes the aims of this Bill and notes the new Cabinet Secretary’s willingness to act on evidence heard from witnesses who questioned whether the provisions in the original Bill would meet the Government’s objective of improving public safety,” said Committee Convener Christine Grahame MSP.

“Given the scope of the proposed Government amendments, we may seek additional time for scrutiny at Stage 2,” she said.

Support for the Bill was not unanimous, however: Margaret Mitchell MSP dissented from the Committee’s support for the general principle of the Bill. 

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