In July 2008, the Scottish Prisons Commission published its report, setting out an ambitious vision of penal reform. Sarah Armstrong and Fergus McNeill acted as academic advisers during the latter stages of the Commission’s work. The report, ‘Scotland’s Choice: Report of the Scottish Prisons Commission’, argued that a nation’s use of prison is partly an expression of its national identity and aspirations. It recommended among other things a signficant reduction in the prison population by avoiding unnecessary use of short sentences and implementing a comprehensive system of community-based sanctions for most minor offenders. The report has had a profound impact on thinking about punishment in Scotland, organising a major reform programme by Government and inspiring other jurisdictions to re-think the facile and costly politicisation of the crime debate.

Scotland’s Choice: Report of the Scottish Prisons Commission (PDF)

Choice vs. Crisis: How Scotland Could Transform Thinking about Prisons and Punishment (Criminal Justice Matters)

English Prisons Commission Report (Howard League)



Evidence, Statistics and Trends

General Resources

Criminal Justice Process and Institutions

Associated People

Prof Sarah Armstrong

University of Glasgow

Prof Fergus McNeill

University of Glasgow