Scotland's Choice Report of The Scottish Prisons Commission
Annex F: Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Act 2007
The Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Act 2007 received Royal Assent on 19th April 2007. The custodial elements of the 2007 Act were intended to end unconditional early release for offenders serving sentences of 15 days or more. Its policy purpose was that where the courts had decided that prison is the appropriate punishment, the measures in the 2007 Act ensure that the sentence is able to be tailored to address the risk and needs of the offender in a way that contributes to reducing reoffending and enhancing public safety. The intention was that an offender's sentence would be managed in an integrated way, beginning in custody and continuing on into the community, allowing a structured plan specific to the individual's needs to be followed. The arrangements in the 2007 Act are:
- Apart from offenders who are sentenced to 14 days or less, a combined structure for managing sentences comprising a period in custody (the custody part) and a period on licence in the community (the community part). The custody part will be a minimum of 50% of the sentence.
- It will be made clear at the time of sentence that the minimum custody part will be 50% of the total sentence. This will be for the purposes of punishment and deterrence. However, the court will have the power to increase the statutory minimum 50% if required in any particular case.
- Offenders will be subject to continuous review during the custody part. Where Scottish Ministers consider that an offender should not be released at the end of the custody part on grounds of risk, they will refer such cases to the Parole Board with a recommendation that the offender should be kept in custody for longer.
- At the end of the custody part, the offender will be on licence for the entire community part of the sentence. The licence conditions will enable provision for a variable and flexible package of measures including supervision if required and will detail what obligations the offender has to meet.
- Once an offender is released on licence the Scottish Ministers will be solely responsible for deciding to recall an offender to custody for a serious breach of a licence condition and where he or she presents an unacceptable risk to public safety. The decision to continue to detain a recalled offender will be taken by the Parole Board.
Page updated: Monday, June 30, 2008