Dozens of crime victims were not notified about the release of serious criminals, Scottish Government documents have revealed.
The Victim Notification Scheme entitles victims of crime to be notified of a prisoner’s release, but documents obtained by the Scottish Conservatives revealed that this hasn’t occurred in 17 cases of compassionate release that have been approved by SNP ministers.
Those released include three who were convicted of murder, four who were convicted of sexual offences and another who was convicted of culpable homicide.
The scheme is applicable in cases where someone is found guilty and sentenced to more than 18 months in jail, and allows a victim to know when the offender is due for release or any other changes to their prisoner status.
It comes after figures released showed the number of victims registering for the scheme dropped markedly last year.
Shadow justice secretary, Jamie Greene, has accused the SNP of “kicking the issue into the long grass” and has called for more support for victims.
He said: “It is absolutely shocking that not a single victim of serious crime was notified about the criminal in their case being released.
“It is crucial victims of crime receive all the information they want, but the SNP’s failure to prioritise their rights has meant that victims have been left waiting for answers.
“This shocking admission is yet another example of victims being left in the dark about the fate of criminals who have made their lives a misery.
“The SNP have repeatedly failed to promote their flagship Victim Notification Scheme to the point where only a quarter of victims have signed up to it.
“The SNP Government cannot continue to kick this issue into the long grass. They must urgently back my plans for a Victims Law so we can guarantee victims will always be at the heart of Scotland’s justice system.”
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