THE UK Prisons Minister Rory Stewart has indicated that he will look to introduce legislation which will largely remove the option of short-term prison sentences.

The evidence has largely suggested that short-term sentences are on the one hand normally not long enough for an offender to heal, while on the other hand the time spent in custody would still be long enough to damage the offender.

Mr Stewart appears to have been looking at a similar approach which has been adopted in Scotland.

The policy has delivered positive results in terms of re-offending among people convicted of less serious offences. I congratulate Mr Stewart in supporting a common sense approach.

To me it comes as no surprise that the policy in Scotland has been formulated by a body that has been elected using a form of Proportional Representation (PR).

The Scottish Parliament uses a form of PR, which produces a parliament which closely reflects how people actually vote.

The same cannot be said for elections conducted under the First Past The Post (FPTP) system, which is used for Westminster elections.

It does not matter what one may think about the Scottish National Party (and its separatist agenda), who currently form a minority Government in Edinburgh.

Whenever their time running the Scottish Government finally does come to an end, the likely scenario of the next Scottish Government not being a oneparty Government, will mean the policy of fewer short-term jail sentences would likely continue.

Now, compare this sound prison policy to the cheap shot statements made by various politicians down the years.

One of those cheap shot statements I am thinking of is former Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard giving the soundbite that prison works.

Such cheap shot statements have above all else been really more about winning a few votes in swing seats, in a FPTP election.

For me, Rory Stewart has not only moved towards a sensible policy on prisons; he has also demonstrated how well a policy which has been delivered by an elected body which uses a form of PR.