11th November 2010

Scotland is currently engaged in one of the biggest penal reform projects in a generation, seeking to fundamentally change its approach to punishment, which is characterised by high use of imprisonment compared to other parts of Europe, and the use of very short prison sentences. In Scotland around three quarters of prison sentences handed down by the courts are for six months or less. But because short sentences are seen as minimally intrusive compared to long-term or life sentences, there has been, until now, little research on their effects. 

SCCJR’s Sarah Armstong and Beth Weaver have sought to fill this gap in knowledge by speaking with those serving short prison sentences or a community-based sentence (the main proposed alternative on the reform agenda). The researchers spoke with 35 men and women ranging in age from 19 to 55 about their experiences of punishment. The aim was to accurately describe the experience for offenders of doing a short sentence, in prison or the community. Click here find out more about the research and to acceess the report. 

Criminal Justice Process and Institutions