IF in doubt, “criminals!” shout. That seems to be Ruth Davidson’s strategy for any session of FMQs that falls during a week when her colleagues at Westminster have been disgracing themselves, disrespecting Scotland, slinging mud at each other and infuriating our EU neighbours.

At the moment that describes just about every week, so no wonder we’ve had Tory questions about prisoner voting, prisoner monitoring and now the fine detail of the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill, which covers areas including electronic monitoring, or tagging.

Davidson is concerned about the risk of offenders who are released into the community removing their electronic tags. She says there will be no need for them to worry if they do so, as they will face no further charges.

The Tory leader deliberately and cynically obscures the point. There will be plenty for such a person to worry about, as any breach of the conditions of a Home Detention Curfew (including removing the tag) will be recorded, and the prospect of a return to court or prison is hardly a trifling concern.

The fact that James Wright remained in the community after breaching his curfew meant he was able to murder Craig McClelland in Paisley last year. The grief of the father-of-three’s loved ones has been compounded by the revelation that Wright had a long list of previous convictions, including for carrying a knife, and was supposed to be subject to monitoring at the time of the killing.

We don’t yet know why Wright remained at liberty after his curfew was revoked. The Chief Inspector of Prisons and The Chief Inspector of Constabulary are reviewing both the process for assessing which prisoners should be placed on Home Detention Curfews, and the process for investigating breaches of the rules and apprehending those responsible.

That will take time, but Davidson has apparently already carried out her own fast-tracked review within the space of week and reached the firm conclusion that “Scotland’s justice system is tilted far too much in favour of those convicted of crime”.

This is undoubtedly true, if – and only if – people are committing crimes with the specific aim of securing free bed and board courtesy of the Scottish Prison Service. Because despite various measures to bring down the country’s prison population, including presumptions against jail terms of less than three months and increasing community sentencing options, it has stubbornly remained one of the highest in Western Europe.

Scotland is not “soft on crime”, and she knows it. Colleagues of hers down south also know it, and have looked on approvingly at the efforts of the Scottish Government to bring down rates of imprisonment. But of course when you lead the Ruth Davidson Party you don’t have to pay any heed to what anyone else might think – especially not if there are political points to be scored in the wake of a tragic death.

If the Tories want to table an amendment to the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill calling for tag removal to be a criminal offence, they will be welcome to do so. But by raising this point about tag removal – and citing the backing of Scottish Women’s Aid, which also opposes presumptions against short prison sentences – she wishes to imply the use of community sentences and curfews is putting victims, and the wider public, at risk.

To the casual listener, this probably sounds correct. After all, if someone is in prison they can’t stab anyone to death in the street, can they? But what this line of logic overlooks is that sending people to prison increases their likelihood of reoffending. And of those who are sent there, only a tiny proportion receive indeterminate sentences – the rest will at some point definitely be released. Davidson, it seems, would have them serve the entire length of their sentences behind bars (a drug-riddled environment that almost everyone acknowledges is not conducive to rehabilitation) before being spat out into the community without any monitoring at all. Is this the safe option? Hardly.

She also seems to have little faith in the ability of our sentencers to make wise decisions, condemning the bill’s stated aim of making “the use of electronic monitoring more appealing to sheriffs as an alternative to custody”.

Does she imagine our sheriffs will be swayed by some sort of slick marketing effort, rather than robust, evidence-based legislation that ensures community sentencing will be the right option in more cases? Or will she simply spout any old nonsense if she thinks a soundbite or two will make the headlines in the right-wing press?

If a sheriff is not persuaded that a community sentences is appropriate in any given cases, he or she will not hand one down. If the relevant authorities assess that a prisoner should not be released, that prisoner will not be released.

If Ruth Davidson has any better ideas for how to rehabilitate those convicted of offences – to prevent the “revolving door” or reoffending that she spoke about so articulately just last week – then I’m sure all of those involved in the justice system will be eager to hear them.

Perhaps next week, when doubtless she’ll be scrambling to divert attention away from yet another Brexit omnishambles, she can use FMQs to showcase her latest constructive proposals. Let’s not hold our breath.