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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 February 2007, 18:28 GMT
Lib Dems in prison service pledge
Nicol Stephen
Mr Stephen wants tougher community sentences introduced
The Liberal Democrats have vowed to abolish the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) if they win power in the Scottish elections, their leader has said.

Nicol Stephen claimed the proposals, aimed at cutting crime in Scotland, were the "most radical" since the Scottish Parliament was established.

The plans include replacing the SPS with a dedicated Scottish Custody and Rehabilitation Service.

Mr Stephen said the SPS structure and culture did not help reduce crime.

He said: "Anyone who saw the BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary last week at the young offenders institution at Polmont will recognise the challenges facing Scotland.

"We must move away from very short-term sentences and allow tougher community sentences to be introduced.

"This new approach will be much more effective in cutting offending."

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