Jenny Marra urges MacAskill to Drop "Regressive " Prison Plans

2 February 2012

Speaking ahead of a Scottish Parliament debate on the role of prison visiting committees, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Jenny Marra MSP, said:

"What Kenny MacAskill is proposing does not perform the function of visiting committees – he is not replacing like with like.

An advocacy service won by a company bidding for a government contract will never be able to perform the impartial scrutiny carried out by volunteers on the visiting committee who offer their time to do spot checks on prison conditions.

"Kenny MacAskill’s prime motivation here seems to be to reduce the number of public bodies. This is not a good enough reason to take away independent prison monitoring that has been seen as essential in law since Victorian times.

"This is a regressive proposal.

"With 59 of the 60 organisations consulted, and the Howard League for Penal Reform, agreeing that the SNP government is taking the wrong approach, I hope the SNP government will listen to the powerful case made against these proposals and drop these plans."


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