25 Mar, 2022

RMA Response to Scottish Government Bail and Release Consultation

Today, Friday 25 March, we are pleased to publish our response to the Scottish Government’s Bail and Release from Custody Consultation.   

The Scottish Government consultation was seeking views on bail/remand and release from custody to inform the development of legislation in this area. The proposals look at changing the way bail law operates, and a wider consideration of how imprisonment should be used in Scotland. 

Our response, available in full below, lays out in detail the importance of an evidence-based and proportionate approach to risk assessment and risk management in Scotland. The RMA advocate for transparent and defensible decision making in our justice system and propose changes that are fundamentally underpinned by risk and manageability.  

Throughout our response we highlight: 

  • Decision making in our justice system must be informed by ongoing proportionate and evidence-based risk assessment and management, to assess whether the individual poses a risk of serious harm. 
  • Risk assessment and management planning throughout an individual’s journey from custody through to release into the community is central to their successful reintegration.  
  • A multi-faceted public health approach and continuity of care from prison to the community is fundamental to support an individual’s reintegration to the community and desistance from offending. 
  • Effective supervision, partnership-working, and quality assurance are key mechanisms by which our justice system can support successful reintegration. 
  • Integral to any proposal around release from custody is the need for a wider justice reform, to provide decision makers with meaningful information about risk.  

“Throughout an individual’s journey from court to custody and through to release into the community, evidence-based risk assessment and management planning are required to support successful reintegration whilst ensuring the public are protected. Our previous research on risk assessment of long-term prisoners in prison identified that only 20% were assessed as posing a risk of serious harm. The consultation offers an opportunity to fundamentally reconsider how we use imprisonment in Scotland. We look forward to working with agencies to ensure that individualised, defensible and evidence-based risk assessment informs decisions about imprisonment, rehabilitation, and reintegration to communities.”
Mark McSherry, Chief Executive

Click here to download and read the full response. For inquiries, please contact communications@rma.gov.scot

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