Preg­nant of­fend­ers get push from jail

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Opinion -

Too many preg­nant women are serv­ing “de­struc­tive” short­term jail sen­tences, an MSP claims.

Fig­ures ob­tained by the Lib­eral Democrats show that in the last five years, 104 ex­pec­tant mums have been handed cus­to­dial sen­tences.

Of these, 37 got less than 12 months and 31 gave birth while be­hind bars.

Lib­eral Demo­crat jus­tice spokesman Liam McArthur, urged the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to press ahead with plans to re­place jail terms of less than a year with com­mu­nity ser­vice for for mums-to-be.

He said: “The fact 37 ex­pec­tant moth­ers have been given de­struc­tive short- term sen­tences in re­cent years should have alarm bells ring­ing.

“All the ev­i­dence shows short-term sen­tences are less ef­fec­tive than ro­bust com­mu­nity-based dis­pos­als.

“Rates of re­of­fend­ing amongst those who have served short stints in prison are sky high.”

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment said: “Re­duc­ing in­ef­fec­tive short-term im­pris­on­ment is part of our smarter ap­proach to tack­ling of­fend­ing. We have an­nounced plans to ex­tend the pre­sump­tion against short cus­to­dial sen­tences from three months to 12 months or less.”

CALL Liam McArthur

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