Short sentences an 'obstacle to rehabilitation'

Image caption, The report said short-sentence prisoners often had drug and alcohol problems

Serving short sentences prevents criminals from breaking the cycle of reoffending, a new study suggests.

The report by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research said most offenders wanted to become law-abiding citizens.

But it said short sentences were an "obstacle" to rehabilitation.

The report found the typical short-sentence prisoner had a serious, long-term issue with drugs and alcohol.

It said short sentences were often used by prisoners as a drying out session.

While this allowed some sober time for reflection, it rarely developed into a sustained period of staying off drugs, the report said.

It concluded that using prison as a detox facility was an "expensive proposition".

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