SNP backs consideration of Finnish-style ‘open prisons’ in Scotland

The ongoing SNP conference endorsed a call on Friday to study “other more successful models for dealing with criminal offences” by 435 votes to ten.

The motion in question noted that Scotland’s incarceration rate was “substantially higher” than most other EU countries, while 96 per cent of prisoners are men and 32 per cent are aged under 30.

It added: “Conference therefore proposes a study to consider other more successful models for dealing with criminal offences, such as the Finnish model, which utilises open prisons and has focused on rehabilitation, reducing imprisonment rates to amongst the lowest in Europe without any increase in crime”.

Colin Storrier, of the SNP’s Edinburgh Central branch, told delegates: “When we have a system that is fundamentally broken, we should have the humility to look at other approaches that have been more successful”.

SNP MP Owen Thomson said the Scottish Government was already working on a new community justice strategy to promote alternatives to prison, “moving the focus towards prevention”. He said the proposed study would support this, adding: “Let’s look for new ideas”.

Mr Thomson added: “Keeping our communities protected is our number one priority and these principles underpin the reforms we are consulting on”.