Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill


Stage 1 scrutiny by the Justice Committee

The Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 14 August 2014 and has been referred to the Justice Committee for consideration at Stage 1. The Bill ends automatic early release for certain categories of prisoners. 

These provisions were originally to have been included by amendment in the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill. However, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice wrote to the Committee on 27 May 2014 advising that the provisions relating to automatic early release would be brought forward as a separate piece of legislation. Further background is available on the Automatic Early Release of Prisoners page.

Prior to the Bill being introduced the Committee gathered some written evidence on the provisions relating to automatic early release.


At its meeting on 18 November 2014, the Committee agreed to hold evidence sessions and to issue a call for written evidence on the Bill. The call for written evidence closed on 6 January 2015.

Oral evidence sessions took place on 13, 20, 27 January, 24 February and 3 March 2015.

Additional written submissions have been received in response to the Cabinet Secretary's letter dated 3 February 2015. These are included in the link above.


The Committee published its report to the Parliament on 19 March 2015.


Consideration of the Bill at Stage 1 concluded with the debate in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 2 April 2015.

Evidence at Stage 2

The Scottish Government lodged amendments to the Bill at Stage 2 on 14 May 2015. 

The Committee agreed to take evidence from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on amendment 1 on 26 May and then from Professor Fergus McNeill from the University of Glasgow and Professor Cyrus Tata from the University of Strathclyde on 27 May 2015. To inform these evidence sessions, the Committee sought written comments on amendment 1 from previous witnesses on the Bill at Stage 1. 

Further information, together with correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary and written submissions received, can be found in the following meeting paper:

Letter from the Cabinet Secretary to the Justice Committee (page 4)

Letter from the Cabinet Secretary to the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee (page 27)

Written submissions from:  

Positive Prison? Positive Futures (page 28)

Dr Monica Barry, University of Strathclyde (page 28)

Professor Dr Cyrus Tata, University of Strathclyde (page 29)

Risk Management Authority (page 32)

Howard League Scotland (page 32)

A supplementary written submission from Professors Fergus McNeill and Cyrus Tata and Dr Monica Barry was received on 1 June 2015:

The Committee considered these amendments to the Bill lodged as part of the formal Stage 2 process on 2 June 2015.

Additional Information


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