MacAskill calls for prisoner release
FORMER justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has called for the Scottish Government to set up a prisoner release programme to tackle coronavirus.
Last week, MSPs passed the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill which put in place provisions to allow some inmates to be released should the prison estate become overwhelmed.
Writing in the Scotsman, MacAskill said: “The state, having taken away their freedom, has a duty of care towards them. Yet harm is now faced by all those incarcerated.
“The whole atmosphere of a prison after all is more geared towards hothousing the virus, rather than shielding the prisoner from infection.”
MacAskill, MP for East Lothian, said “a prisoner release scheme is needed” but clarified it “can’t be for everyone”.
He added: “There are some too dangerous to let out and others where the sentence is too long. But there are many who aren’t and are nearing the end of their sentence or on remand awaiting trial.
“It needs to be looked at on an individual basis and there’s a duty to ensure that they’ve got somewhere to go. But they can be let out on licence and remain at home.”