Falkirk’s worst offenders will serve their full sentence

Serious offenders will serve full sentences under new policy
Serious offenders will serve full sentences under new policy

New proposals aim to keep dangerous criminals behind bars and end controversial automatic early release.

Under the policy, put forward by the Scottish Government, prisoners convicted of serious crimes like culpable homicide, attempted murder, serious assault, robbery and sexual offences and serving 10 or more years will have no automatic right to early release.

Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald welcomed the policy and any moves to extend it.

He said: “This will give peace of mind and reassurance to victims, witnesses and the communities of Falkirk district and beyond.

“This highlights the safety of our communities is paramount and I will be supporting this legislation to the hilt.

“I am also very pleased to hear the Scottish Government’s commitment to extend this policy and completely end automatic early release.”

Currently prisoners sentenced up to four years will be let out of jail at the half-way point, while sex offenders are released on licence at the same point but can be recalled if they breach conditions.

Long-term prisoners, those serving more than four years, can be released on licence by the parole board between half-way and two-thirds through their sentence.

Under the new legislation, to be brought forward as an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill early next year, the Scottish Government will 
allow the independent parole board to oversee decisions on a prisoner’s early release beyond the two-thirds point.

Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill said the proposals signalled the government’s intention to end automatic early release altogether.

The proposals were welcomed in the Scottish Parliament, despite some concern the initial change would only affect a small proportion of prisoners.