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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-01762
Asked by: Jamie Greene, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 22 July 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what measures are in place to support the families of people who are held on remand for an extended period and are then not convicted at trial.

Current status: Answered by Keith Brown on 17 August 2021


Answer

The Scottish Government recognises the impact that periods of imprisonment, including time on remand, can have on families. That is why we are committed to reducing the use of short-term imprisonment, including remand and increasing the use of community-based interventions.

SPS are committed to ensuring that people in prison are able to maintain contact with their family during their time in custody. The SPS Family Strategy puts families and family contact at the heart of supporting prisoners during their time in custody. The Strategy doesn’t differentiate between convicted or remand prisoners and recognises the positive contribution that close family contact and involvement can make in supporting the reintegration of prisoners back into the community.

SPS support family contact during a person's time in custody - including on remand - in a number of ways. This includes in-cell telephony, letters and family contact through visits. Under the Prison Rules, those remanded have a greater visits entitlement than those convicted. Remand prisoners have the opportunity of access to daily family visits in prisons holding remand prisoners.

The Scottish Government has provided £3.9m in grant funding for Prison Visitors Centres since 2016/17. Visitors Centres provide a range of support for families and work in partnership with other organisations to make referrals to more specialist advice and support services for things including financial support, childcare, housing support and welfare counselling. This is in addition to £138k p.a. provided to Families Outside, an organisation which supports families affected by imprisonment so that they can readily access appropriate information and support at a time they need it.

We will continue to work with partners to develop approaches in this area, learning from those with lived experience.