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Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020

Early release of prisoners

174.Paragraph 19(1) of schedule 4 provides the Scottish Ministers with the power to release prisoners who fall within a class of prisoners specified within regulations. Subparagraph (6) provides further information on what these regulations must contain. Subparagraph (8) provides the Scottish Ministers with the flexibility to make different provision for different purposes including differentiating between classes of person or classes of prison or parts of a prison.

175.Subparagraph (2) restricts the Scottish Ministers power to make regulations under subparagraph (1), providing that regulations can be made only if the Scottish Ministers are satisfied that the regulations are a necessary and proportionate response to the effects of coronavirus on a prison or prisons. The regulations must be for the purpose of protecting the security and good order of a prison or prisons or protecting the health, safety and welfare of those accommodated or working in a prison.

176.Subparagraph (3) prevents the release of a prisoner who falls within any of the categories specified in subparagraph (4) or where the Governor of the prison concerned considers that the prisoner poses an immediate risk of harm to an identified person.

177.Subparagraph (4) lists the persons who are excluded from being released via regulations made under subparagraph (1) and subparagraph (5) clarifies the terms “life prisoner” and “untried prisoner” for the purposes of subparagraph (4).

178.Subparagraph (7) details how a prisoner released via regulations made under subparagraph (1) is to be treated following release. Prisoners released will be treated as if they had been released in accordance with Part 1 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993. Short-term prisoners are to be released unconditionally while long-term prisoners are to be released on licence. Those sentenced to detention will be treated as if they are released in accordance with the relevant provisions in sections 6 or 7 of the 1993 Act as appropriate.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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