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'Prison perpetuates poverty'

Sean Duffy, chief executive of the social enterprise Wise Group, says a major overhaul of punishments and interventions is required in Scotland. The country has one of the highest imprisonment rates in western Europe, with more than 130 individuals per 100,000 population entering prison last year. Duffy says: "Prison perpetuates poverty. Offenders lose their wages and jobs while in prison. Their accommodation, families, communities. Ongoing unemployment on release impacts former inmates and is an indicator for higher reoffending rates. Families and loved ones are also affected." He adds: "What we need is fresh thinking which recognises that a well-functioning justice system helps to tackle poverty too. We also need a shift in public attitudes." Duffy welcomes Sir Keir Starmer’s appointment of James Timpson as the new prisons minister for England and suggests the Scottish government "will be looking at this closely."

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