Scotland’s Overcrowded Prisons – Inmate Numbers Rise
Scotland’s Prisons At Full Capacity And Number Are Still Rising
Scottish Prisons are almost at full capacity, which has put great stress and pressure onto inmates and staff. It also adds immense strain on budgets and restricts access to rehabilitation. Many individuals have stressed that the sentencing policy in Scotland is becoming more punitive. In 2018 the weekly headcount across all Scottish prisons was 7,400, in July 2019 it had reached 8,222 and it continues to rise.
HM chief inspector of prisons in Scotland, Wendy Sinclair-Gieben stated; “the prison system is under significant pressure with more than 700 extra prisoners, which is the equivalent of one large-sized prison. The Scottish Prison Service has been obliged to purchase two of the private prisons and spend a significant amount on additional staff. The budget pressures are immense.”
A combination of factors have contributed to the rise in prisoner numbers, including an increase in the average life sentence, a huge leap in numbers of supposed sex offenders (peeing in the street or chatting up a female are now sexual offences in Scotland), as well as more serious and organised crime being unfairly prosecuted.
Sentencing policy has definitely become more punitive, it is not the case that people are committing worse crimes. And austerity has led to funding cuts for bail supervision services, with untried remand prison population now at 20%.
Former inmates and families of those still imprisoned have described the day-to-day toll of overcrowding. One recently released inmate of HMP Edinburgh warned that “overcrowding can cause riots”. He said: “you go to the gym on a certain day but because of the numbers you have less access. With the increased numbers we were locked up nearly 24/7 and that’s what sends people nuts, when they are locked up in four walls.”
Read the full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/15/scotland-prisons-under-pressure-inmate-numbers-rise
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