There were 73% fewer serious assaults recorded in Scottish prisons compared to England and Wales over the last year, new figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) reveal. The figures show there were almost 90% fewer serious prisoner assaults on staff as well as nearly 70% fewer serious prisoner on prisoner assaults than south of the border. Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service Colin McConnell praised the SNP Government’s “political guts” in their aim of providing a positive experience that helps to re-orientate Scottish inmates as well as the move towards the presumption against short-term sentences, which the Centre for Justice Innovation (CJI) has asked England and Wales to emulate. This follows reports from the president of the Prison Governors Association that prisons south of the border are underfunded, understaffed and “full to bursting”. Commenting, Kenneth Gibson MSP said: “With over 70% fewer serious assaults within Scottish prisons compared to south of the border, prison officers in Scotland deserve praise and recognition for their hard work and dedication to learn lessons from the past and make our prisons a safer place. “Whereas England and Wales have had their police numbers slashed by 20,000, recorded crime in Scotland, where police numbers have been increased by 1,000 is at a 43-year low.
“We are convinced by the evidence that short prison sentences do little to rehabilitate people or reduce their likelihood of re-offending, and England and Wales are now looking to copy the SNP Government’s shift towards more community-based sentencing that has helped reduce reconviction rates over the last decade to an 18-year low. “On top of these figures is the anecdotal evidence we saw in Ross Kemp’s documentary last week, which gave a revealing insight into the professionalism of Barlinnie Prison's staff and how they work hard to keep Scotland’s largest prison under control. “Long may this encouraging progress continue.”