Sentencing Policy Unlikely to Work, Argues Prof

One of Scotland’s leading sentencing experts argues that an extension to the existing presumption against short custodial sentences will not have the impact intended by the Scottish government of significantly reducing the prison population.

The Law School’s Dr Cyrus Tata, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, at the University of Strathclyde (pictured) argues in a paper published today in the new edition of Scottish Justice Matters that a radical policy rethink is needed.

Recently, the Scottish government consulted on extending the current presumption against three month sentences to six, nine or even 12 months.

But in a paper, also reported in Scottish Legal News and The Herald, Professor Tata says that the problem lies in the underlying legislation.

What is needed instead, argues Dr Tata, is to abandon the thinking that custody is ‘the last resort’.

He argues that the prevailing policy approach that ‘custody is the last resort’ sounds progressive but in fact renders custody as the default.   

Read Prof Tata’s paper here

See also the Strathclyde Master’s in Criminal Justice & Penal Change

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