Alison McInnes MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

Member of the Parliamentary Bureau

Search for other Speeches made by 3. Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD)

Justice Committee 03 March 2015 : 03 March 2015
Alison McInnes

Ms Murray pressed you on the financial memorandum, and you said that you might update it. Surely, in considering the issues, you must have considered what the financial resource implications would be. Have you had discussions with, say, Social Work Scotland about your revised proposals?



Justice Committee 03 March 2015 : 03 March 2015
Alison McInnes

That is helpful. During the hypothetical compulsory supervision period, would there be a power of recall?



Justice Committee 03 March 2015 : 03 March 2015
Alison McInnes

Cabinet secretary, I acknowledge that you have acted in good faith in responding to what the committee said earlier. However, if the period of compulsory supervision is itself part of the sentence rather than subsequent to it, how would you respond to the suggestion that it is only automatic early release by another name? Is it just a rebranding?



Justice Committee 03 March 2015 : 03 March 2015
Alison McInnes

Obviously and quite rightly, from the outset of the meeting there has been a strong focus on children and lack of provision for them in the bill as introduced. Of course, determining a child’s age can be very difficult without proper documentation. Both Lisa Gamble and Chloe Swift talked about presumption of age. Can you elaborate on what you are looking for in that regard?



Justice Committee 03 March 2015 : 03 March 2015
Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD)

I am a North East Scotland MSP.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : 26 February 2015
Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD)

The minister noted the need for first-class forensic capability. Forensic services are overspent by £0.29 million and face a further £0.214 million of unallocated cost reductions before the end of the year. The Scottish Police Authority has admitted that that is beginning to put pressure on its finite resources. Given the importance of tackling the menace of NPS, will the minister advise what additional funds will be available to forensic services to build that first-class capability?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : 26 February 2015
Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD)

I, too, congratulate Mary Fee on securing the debate, which follows on from yesterday’s joint meeting of the cross-party group on children and young people and the cross-party group on families affected by imprisonment.

I thank the NSPCC and Barnardo’s for their valuable contribution. Although their report builds on earlier work, including the Corston and Angiolini reports, the statistics and analysis still make stark reading, as other members have highlighted. Up to 4,600 children under the age of two are affected by parental imprisonment each year in Scotland, and two thirds of female prisoners and half of male prisoners report that they have children. Those children are at at least double the risk of developing mental health problems and are three times more likely to be involved in antisocial or delinquent behaviour.

The report highlights areas of good practice, but it also sets challenges for the Government, the Scottish Prison Service, the national health service and other partners. The first and most important of those challenges is to recognise that infants who are affected by criminal justice processes are a vulnerable group. They need to be identified and there needs to be greater awareness of their needs. In addition, a national action plan needs to be introduced to ensure that there is a co-ordinated multi-agency response.

I know that Mary Fee seeks to secure progress on a number of those action points through a member’s bill. I commend her for that and am happy to support her in that work. She might want to consider whether the impact on infants should be understood even earlier on in the justice system—for example at the remand stage.

Parental contact during the early years is invaluable. That is when bonds are forged and stable loving relationships are established. Parents need those opportunities to develop their skills and to gain confidence and self-esteem. As Sir Harry Burns has said:

“Unless we look after children properly, nurture them consistently, support them and their parents, who often don’t know how to be parents, we will continue to fail and we will continue to reap the consequences in terms of criminality and poor health.”

That is why I want greater emphasis on the development of parental life skills for those for whom prison is the only appropriate disposal. One in three young men in Polmont is a father or an expectant father. We need to equip them for that role. We also need to provide more peer support for the handful of women who give birth behind bars each year, and who are deprived of the shared learning opportunities that other parents normally have at that time. Perinatal healthcare for them needs to be brought up to the standard that applies in the community.

I was also pleased that the report highlighted the potential to extend compulsory statutory throughcare services, which are currently afforded only to those who serve sentences of four years or more. That would support thousands more parents during their release, and it would make families more resilient and improve reintegration.

Of course, the best way to limit the impact of parental imprisonment is in the first place to reduce the numbers who are imprisoned. The collateral damage of sentencing policy is currently not measured or considered nearly enough. Just a third of women who are remanded in custody go on to receive a custodial sentence, and in 2011-12 four fifths of the women in question served sentences of six months or less. Thousands of children are needlessly left behind each year because their mothers and fathers are given ineffective and disruptive short-term stints in custody. Alternatives such as community-based justice programmes and diversion-from-prosecution projects are often more successful in reducing reoffending. They are not soft options, but they help to preserve familial links and to limit the damage on dependent children.

We need to identify those in need and break the cycle of intergenerational trauma. There is only one chance to get this right for each and every child. A whole-family approach to the delivery of justice would not only protect the rights of children; it would also send a clear message that their needs must not be an afterthought.

13:05  

Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : 26 February 2015
Alison McInnes

What guarantee can the First Minister give that the behaviour that she thinks is “standard practice” will stop?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : 26 February 2015
Alison McInnes

I think that people will be surprised that this is considered standard practice by the Government. Government officials and spin doctors persuaded an academic to delay publication of her damning research on stop and search for two days. They then embarked on a frantic round of emails and discussions to create a ministerial event that was designed to rubbish the report, and they held it during those two days. The emails show the First Minister’s justice department manipulating all that.

Government is a powerful force, but academic freedom is a precious guard against an overmighty state. Scottish ministers and their political advisers overstepped the mark in the matter.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : 26 February 2015
3. Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD)

To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government’s response is to claims that its officials and Police Scotland sought to influence the content and publication of Kath Murray’s PhD research into the use of stop and search. (S4F-02619)

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12495 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-12491.2 John Swinney: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name of W
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NoCarried

S4M-12491.1 Richard Simpson: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name o
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YesDefeated

S4M-12491 Willie Rennie: Privacy and the State—That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government’s c
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NoCarried

S4M-12492.2 Jamie Hepburn: Mental Health—As an amendment to motion S4M-12492 in the name of Jim Hume
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NoCarried

S4M-12492 Jim Hume: Mental Health—That the Parliament notes that one in four people will experience
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NoCarried

Amendment 2 moved by Ken Macintosh on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bi
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YesDefeated

Amendment 3 moved by Ken Macintosh on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bi
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YesDefeated

Amendment 4 moved by Ken Macintosh on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bi
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 5 moved by Ken Macintosh on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bi
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YesDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Alison McInnes
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12280: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 09/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12160.1: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12088: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 16/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11963: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 19/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11852: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11448: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11261: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 21/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10829.1: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 19/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10700: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 31/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10472: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 24/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Alison McInnes
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-04082: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02619: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03981: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00910: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24135: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 22/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24132: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 22/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00900: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23911: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 07/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03894: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23741: Alison McInnes, North East Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 18/12/2014 Show Full Question >>

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