Following the sentencing of Jason Graham for the murder of Esther Brown, Ross asks Sturgeon about the Scottish Government’s approach to prisoner early release:
Jason Graham was released early. He wasn’t monitored properly. Yesterday he got 19 years – yes, a long sentence – but not nearly enough for such a horrific crime. This week the Scottish Government launched a consultation proposing that violent criminals could get out after just six or seven years. The document suggests long-term prisoners could be considered for release after a just a third of their sentence…First Minister, can you honestly say your government’s approach to justice is keeping the people of Scotland safe?
My thoughts and sympathies are with Esther Brown’s family and her friends. Absolutely nothing I or anyone else in this chamber can say will ease the pain that family is suffering…In terms of automatic early release, of course this is an issue of contention and has been for many years in this parliament. This government legislated back in 2016 to end the previous system of automatic release for prisoners and that could not be retrospective legislation but it was an important move to make.We will continue to ensure our justice system continues to protect people from criminals and ensures victims get the justice they deserve. But also a justice system that tries to ensure – and I’m not talking about this case when I make this point – the principles of rehabilitation and reducing reoffending are at its heart.