I received a reply from the Scottish Prison Service; in typically timeous fashion (not like the English side, I’ll be lucky if I get a reply in the next 3 months).
They gave me a more detailed reason: “… concerns about the risk of the media interest and community reprisals …” This is from a report from the Local Authority (Social Services). The SPS have agreed to review my case. Although, they have no say in the decision of the Local Authority.
I made some further submissions: there hadn’t been a full assessment of my release address; there would be a higher risk of “media interest [etc.]” were I to be released in Brighton; if Brighton and Hove can manage my release, it is conceivable that the Scottish Local Authority could not do the same; there is no evidence to support their ‘concerns’; and, amongst other things, a number of compassionate grounds, and that this transfer would enable me to build and maintain family ties (something the system refers to as a ‘protective factor’)
They have appeared to have rejected my application based on an ‘if, but and maybe’. Who knows what will happen tomorrow, let alone in 12 years time. I’ve seen many ‘risk averse’ decisions over the years but nothing on this scale, it’s ridiculous. What do they do with Scottish prisoners whose cases have been high-profile? Keep them in prison for fear of “media interest and community reprisals”?
Hopefully, the SPS review will result in my application being approved. If not, that only leaves judicial review as an option.
Be happy, be safe.
Graham Coutts, 23rd December 2017