Margaret Mitchell MSP

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Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

On the basis of the evidence that we have had last week and this week, it is with regret that I must say that I do not think that the order provides a better system. There are too many questions and far too much is being left to guidance. The development of the guidance is being led by an SPS deputy governor. I do not question her integrity for a moment, but it is inevitable that she will look at things from an SPS viewpoint.

For all those reasons, I think that we will end up with an inferior system. We are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut in bending over backwards to be OPCAT compliant. In other jurisdictions, the function has been taken over by the ombudsman. If that had happened, that would have been the end of the story: it would have rectified what was already a good system. It was not a perfect system, but it was a good one that could, with a little tweaking, have been improved.



Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

There is a balance to be struck between interfering and having the appropriate checks and balances, and that is what I fear there may not be, under the order as laid.



Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

My difficulty is with the scrutiny. Would the cabinet secretary agree to any additional guidance having statutory scrutiny or being subject to a statutory review?



Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

Will the issue be covered in guidance, along with the monitoring of temporary release arrangements that independent monitors are to be asked to carry out?



Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

Will the number of independent monitors be set out in guidance?



Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

Will all this—the number of visits and the number of independent monitors to be appointed—be left to guidance?



Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

The difficulty is with capacity for the three types of visit that you have mentioned and with the rota. We then have the fact that visits have to be approved by or co-ordinated with the prison governor, and the fact that some visits will be made without prior notice. There is a concern that visits without prior notice might slip if more predominance, influence or priority is given to other elements. Do we have any idea how many independent monitors we might need or how many visits we are talking about?



Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

I understand that, but the cabinet secretary will understand that perception is everything. The point that was made was that, if prison monitors chose to help—if prisoners chose to involve monitors in their complaints—that might be seen as compromising the monitors’ position.

How many independent prison monitors are envisaged? Moreover, is there any idea of or provision for the number of visits that they will make?



Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

Before Kerry Morgan does that, I should make it clear that the crucial point is about monitors helping with the internal complaints system. According to previous evidence, that might compromise their independence in prisoners’ eyes. As a result, there is a human rights issue to address.



Justice Committee 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Margaret Mitchell

I think that that is the concern.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
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NoCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
>> Show more
NoCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Margaret Mitchell
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11955: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 18/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11758: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11656: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11567.2: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11551: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11480: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 07/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11468: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11467: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11397: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11376: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Margaret Mitchell
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03876: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02448: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22936: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 24/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03595: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22466: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 22/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22228: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22227: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22226: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21812: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21815: Margaret Mitchell, Central Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>

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