§ Mrs. McKenna
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which further provisions of the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997 he intends to implement; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. McLeish
The key objective of our criminal justice policy is to protect the public effectively. It is against this background that we have reviewed the provisions of the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997.
We have already made a commencement order bringing certain provisions of the 1997 Act into force on 1 August—SI 1997/1712 (C.72) (S.128). We intend to bring a further tranche of provisions into force in October, including mandatory minimum sentences for persistent drug traffickers—section 2 of the 1997 Act—and new arrangements for criminal legal aid—part V of the 1997 Act).
We remain committed to consistency and honesty in sentencing, and will be bringing forward proposals to further these aims. However, we have concluded that the new arrangements for early release contained in part III of the 1997 Act are unsatisfactory and impractical, and we do not therefore propose to implement them in their present form.
We are not satisfied that section 1 of the Act, which provides for the sentences to be imposed in certain circumstances on repeat violent and sex offenders, as enacted, provides proper protection for the public against these offenders. However, given the seriousness with which we view the issue of repeat offending, we shall be consulting on how best to provide for the appropriate sentencing and improved supervision of such offenders.
In addition, we shall be taking a range of other steps to deal effectively with offenders and improve public protection. We shall be commencing section 5 of the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997 to enable the Secretary of State to set up pilot schemes for the electronic tagging of offenders.
Community-based sentences have an important part to play in punishing and rehabilitating offenders. I am therefore looking closely at the full range of disposals, both custodial and non-custodial, against our objectives of improving public safety, dealing effectively and rigorously with offending behaviour and increasing public confidence in the criminal justice system.
We will be consulting further on other options in developing a new strategy on criminal justice for Scotland which is tough, effective, workable and coherent.