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The politics of early release from prison: Sturgeon announces amendments to legislation

2015 February 4
by Mary Munro


“Sturgeon announces end of automatic early release for prisoners” Herald
“End of early jail release for serious offenders” Evening Times
“New SNP plans to abolish automatic early release for worst criminals don’t go far enough, blast critics” Daily Record
“First minister announces end of automatic early release” BBC
“Automatic early release for dangerous prisoners scrapped in Scotland” STV
“Prisoner early release move ‘insulting to victims’” Scottish Express
“Automatic early release of dangerous prisoners to end in Scotland” Telegraph
“Sturgeon announces end of automatic early release for serious offenders” Law Society Journal Online
“Automatic early release to be scrapped for long-term prisoners”

Following posted on 14.1.15

““No merit” in ending of early prison release” Scotsman

Following posted on 2.12.14

“Early release is an affront to justice” Daily Record
“Grieving dad asks if three years in prison is long enough for killer who let his daughter ‘bleed to death in the snow'” Daily Record

Following posted on 20.11.14

“Nicola Sturgeon urged to scrap automatic early release” Telegraph

Following posted on 16.4.14

“Automatic early release should end” Scotsman
“Holyrood bill makes new attempt to limit automatic early release” Law Society Journal Online

Following posted on 4.4.14

“Prisons early release questioned” Herald

Following posted on 6.1.14

“SNP ‘fooling’ public over pledge to alter early releases” Herald
“Early prison release scandal: Nine killers and 183 sex offenders will be free in less than two years” Daily Record
“Fury as football yob jailed for nine months after bloody mass brawl in train station has been freed after just eight WEEKS” Daily Record (confusing Home Detention Curfew with automatic early release)

Following posted on 4.9.13

“One other change to the justice system will be of interest to the Parliament. We have all now accepted the need to end the system of automatic early release that was brought in by the Conservative Government in 1993 and left in place by the Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition here at Holyrood. It does not command public confidence.

We are now in a position to end automatic early release for sexual offenders who are sentenced to more than four years and for serious violent offenders. That follows the work to stabilise the prison population and then reduce it over time by implementing other recommendations of the McLeish commission, such as introducing strong community-based sentences for less serious offenders. Further steps will follow as we continue the successful implementation of our justice reform programme.” FM Alex Salmond Scottish Parliament Official Report 3.9.13

“Scottish Government to scrap early prison release” Scotsman
“Salmond woos voters with populist policies” Scotsman
“Scottish ministers to end automatic early release for ‘worst’ offenders” Telegraph
“Soft justice on the way out at last” Scottish Express
“Unexciting, yes, but still full of substance” Herald
“Minister Kenny MacAskill welcomes prisoner release plan” BBC
“Prisoner plan ‘will target most dangerous’, says minister Kenny MacAskill (audio)” BBC
“Alex Salmond outlines SNP government plans for year ahead” BBC
“Early prison release changes hailed” Courier

Following posted on 2.1.13

“Scandal of early release for rapists” Daily Record
“Early release for sex attackers will stop victims reporting crime, say support groups” Daily Record

Following posted on 31.12.12

“Teen paedophile’s early release puts spotlight on ‘inadequate’ early release system” Daily Record
“Justice system scandal: Call to end early release rules as killers & rapists prepare to walk free after just two years” Daily Record
“SNP under fire as more prisoners face early release” Herald

Following posted on 15.10.12

“Victims neglected, complains MSP John Lamont” Scotsman

Following posted on 10.9.12

“Bottle killers are freed” Scottish Express

Following posted on 7.9.12

“Hundreds of killers and rapists let out of jail early” Daily Record
“Hundreds of killers and rapists freed early under early-release scheme” Scotsman
“Fury over killers let out early” Scottish Sun
“Thousands of rapists and killers released early from Scottish prisons” Telegraph
“Violent thugs still walking early from Scottish prisons” Scottish Express
“Row over release of prisoners” Herald

Following posted on 20.1.12

“Early release frees 50,000 in five years” Scottish Express
“48,000 inmates released early” Scottish Sun

For headlines on this topic back to 2004, press releases and links to sources

Following posted on 1.3.11

“Labour pledges to end prisoners’ early release” Express

Following posted on 10.1.11

“Time to debate ‘time’” (Richard Baker) The Firm Magazine

Following posted on 10.9.10

“Criticism of Scotland’s soft touch in releasing criminals” Courier

Following posted on 8.2.10

“SNP says scrapping automatic early prison release a priority” Herald

Following posted on 23.12.09

“Freed killers and rapists among 150 recalled for breaching bail” Herald
“Concerns grow over parole system” Herald
“Early release for prisoners under attack” Press and Journal
“Call to end early release after 150 freed inmates are sent back to prison” Scotsman
“Outrage over 150 danger men freed to strike again” Express
“Call to end early prison release” BBC
“Parole Board report prompts calls for end to early release of prisoners” Law Society Journal Online

Following posted on 3.6.09

“Row over early release scheme reignited as Mags Haney freed” The Herald

Following posted on 5.5.09

“The SNP is a criminal’s best friend” Scottish Sun
“We’re no friend of criminals say Nats” Scottish Sun
Following posted on 23.05.08

“Salmond vows to end inmates’ early release” Scotsman

Following posted on 21.05.08

“Sheriff brands his own sentencing powers a ‘charade'” Herald
“The charade of early release” Scotsman

Following posted on 23.03.08

“Jails crisis will force U–turn over early releases” Herald

Following posted on 17.05.07

“Don’t ask us” Evening Telegraph

Following posted on 14.05.07

“Concern over early release of prisoners” Courier

Following posted on 18.01.07

“A third new jail planned for rise in prisoners” Herald
“New prison may be built as a result of sentences bill” Scotsman
“Third new prison on the cards” Law Society Journal Online

Following posted on 3.01.07

“McConnell in reform pledge before election” Evening News

Following posted on 20.11.06

“Recalls of violent criminals triple” Herald

Following posted on 14.11.06

“Scepticism over jail release rules” Courier
“Reforms of jail sentences ‘are tough enough’” Evening News
“Sentencing plan ‘is tough enough’” BBC
“McConnell under fire on early release plans” Evening Times
“Minister says victims often feel let down by justice system” STV

Following posted on 13.11.06

“Climbdown on prisoners’ early release” Scotland on Sunday
“Lethal scandal of early release” Scotland on Sunday

Following posted on 21.08.06

“Judge attacks sex offender policy” BBC
“Paedophile jailed for attack while out on release” Scottish TV
“Judge hits out at early release of paedophile” Scotsman

Following posted on 21.06.06

“Early release scheme ‘can only succeed if social work better funded'” Scotsman
“Prisoners are set to lose ticket to freedom” Press and Journal
“Justice for all? Making sense of sentences” Herald
“‘We feel the system is still failing us'” Herald
“Jamieson to unveil convict crackdown” Evening Times
“No more early release from Scottish prisons” Evening Express
“Early release for prisoners to be scrapped” Courier
“Unconditional early release ended”
“Jail policy backed” Daily Record 21.6.06
“Automatic early release to be scrapped” Scottish TV
“Time called on automatic early release” Law Society Journal Online

Following posted on 20.6.06

“New rules on early release of prisoners” Daily Record 20.6.06
“Jamieson aims to curb early release” Herald
“Automatic release to be scrapped” BBC
Following posted on 01.6.06
“Part of prison sentence to be served at home” Evening News
“Crackdown will end routine early release from prison” Scotsman
“Plan to end early prison release” BBC
“Two-part sentencing for offenders” BBC
“Executive to end automatic early release” Law Society Journal Online

Following posted on 18.4.06

“Early release must be simple and effective” Scotsman

Following posted on 6.2.06

“Lord Cullen leads call for alternatives to jail terms” Scotland on Sunday. Read down for criticism of these proposals by Roger Houchin.

Following posted on 27.1.06

“Judges must explain sentencing decisions” ScotsmanFollowing posted on 24.1.06
“Get out clause” Daily Record 24.1.06
“Call to make sentences ‘mean what they say'” Courier
“Ministers to take control of release from jail” Herald
“Reform of sentencing” Herald
“Automatic early release to be abolished” Scotsman
“Early release fears prompt moves for minimum prison terms” Evening News
“Bid to stop criminals getting early release” Evening Times
“Sentences to ‘mean what they say'” BBC
“Welcome for sentencing report” BBC
“Proposals published to end automatic early release of prisoners” Grampian TV
“New proposals for early release of prisoners published” Scottish TV
“Report on early prisoner release “ BBC
“Report into prisoner release scheme published “ Scottish TV
“Jail terms shake-up” Daily Record 23.1.06
“Commission calls for sentencing reform” Law Society Journal On-line

Following posted on 16.12.05

“Life sentence for killer” Scottish TV
“Early release from prison – comment from political editor Bernard Ponsonby” Scottish TV

Following posted on 16.11.05

“‘Prison and supervision’ alternative to early release” Times
“Opposition MSPs back early release reforms” Herald
“Prisoners may get chance to earn freedom” Evening Times

Following posted on 15.11.05

“Plan to make prisoners ‘earn’ their early release” Herald
“Early release from jail” Herald

Following posted on 28.9.05

“‘Convict friends’ come under fire over automatic releases” Times

Following posted on 8.8.05

“‘Perverted’ attack on student sparks early-release row” Scotsman

Following posted on 24.5.05

“Early release scheme for prisoners singled out by Tories” Scotsman

Following posted on 27.9.04

“Criminal releases safety pledge” BBC
“‘Scandal’ of released sex offenders “ Scotland on Sunday
“Call for more honest sentencing” Press and Journal

Following posted on 24.9.04

“Early release sex offender admits attempted rape of toddler “ Scotsman
“Early release row after child sex attack “ Herald
“Man admits attempted child rape” BBC

Press releases

“Commission sounds warning on ending automatic early release of prisoners” Scottish Human Rights Commission (February 2015)
“End of automatic early release for all long-term prisoners” Scot. Gov. (February 2015)

“Automatic early release” Scot. Gov. (August 2014)

“Thousands of criminals to be released after serving only half their sentence” Scottish Conservatives (January 2014)

“Moves to end automatic early release” Scot.Gov. (September 2013)
“Thousands of criminals will still get out early under SNP sentence changes”

“Rise in criminals who will serve only half their sentence” Scottish Conservatives (Dec. 2012)
“Rapists and killers released early by SNP” Scottish Conservatives (Sept. 2012)
“Parole Board Annual Report “ Scot.Gov. (2009)
“Straightforward, honest sentencing does not involve tying the hands of judges” Scottish Conservatives (November 2006)
“It’s Time to End Early Release” SNP (November 2006)
“Concern About Early Release of Sex Offenders Should Be Heeded” SNP (August 2006)
“End of automatic early release of prisoners” Scot. Exec.(June 2006)
“Reforms for early release from prison” Scot. Exec.(January 2006)

See also

Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill
Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill Justice Committee page

Scottish Parliament Official Report 3.9.13

Scottish Parliament FMQs 6.8.12: Ruth Davidson: To be frank, justice has been little more than an afterthought for the Scottish National Party. Yesterday, Mike Russell said that the SNP wants to be judged on its record, so I ask the First Minister how many convicted killers and rapists, for example, have been released early under the SNP.
Parole Board for Scotland Annual Report 2008 – 2009
Scottish Parliament FMQs 22.5.08: Annabel Goldie: “Yesterday, a highly respected sheriff felt compelled to launch a blistering attack on Scottish Government policy allowing the early release of prisoners . . . .”
Scottish Parliament 27.3.08: FMQs. Salmond: “… incidentally, I agree that automatic early release of offenders is an issue that the McLeish commission should properly review”
Release and Post Custody Management of Offenders. Scottish Executive’s proposals for new arrangements for the release and post custody management of offenders (June 2006)
Scottish Sentencing Commission: Early Release Report (2006). Note that this is a .pdf file created from an archived final draft document dated 5.12.05. This seems to be the only version available on the internet. See also: CjScotland 8.4.11: Where is the Scottish Sentencing Commission web site? MM.

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