27 Nov 2012
More than 15,000 criminals jailed this year will be released having served only half the original sentence handed down.
Under the Scottish Government’s automatic early release scheme, 15,712 people sentenced for up to four years in the past 12 months will be let out half-way through.
In addition, 491 more dangerous criminals who received jailterms longer than four years will serve only two-thirds of their sentence.
This is despite repeated SNP pledges to end automatic early release.
The sentencing figures, released today by the Scottish Government, also showed the average sentence served for severe offences has gone down.
In 2010/11 the average length of sentences was homicide (2304 days), robbery (819 days) and sexual assault (1384 days).
However, last year that fell to homicide (2206), robbery (802) and sexual assault (1232).
Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said:
“These figures show again just how absolutely soft on justice the SNP is.
“The public, and in particularly victims of crime, will be horrified to see thousands upon thousands of criminals released long before they should be.
“People simply don’t understand why a sentence is handed down, but only half of it is served, and who can blame them?
“The SNP has pledged to end automatic early release in two election manifestos, but still it is alive and well, with around 16,000 crooks convicted last year – some of them extremely dangerous – set to benefit.
“The Scottish Government must show victims of crime the respect they deserve and end this now.
“Releasing criminals after 50 per cent of a sentence is not a sufficient punishment, and not long enough to properly rehabilitate.”