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 Jail chief to warn MSPs

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Number of posts : 399
Location : Glasgow
Registration date : 2008-09-03

PostSubject: Jail chief to warn MSPs   Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:11 pm

SCOTLAND’S jails are so full they now pose a security risk, MSPs will be warned today.

A Scottish Prison Service report to Holyrood’s Justice Committee says staff face “unacceptable” dangers since recommended inmate numbers were exceeded.

It highlights fears that riots could erupt as competition for “resources” among inmates causes tensions to rise.

And last night prison officers’ leaders spoke of “grave concerns” for the safety of their colleagues.

SPS chief executive Mike Ewart’s report is based on information from prison governors. It says: “We are now able to monitor how far beyond the acceptable risk we are moving as the population increases.’

“Throughout the estate there are threats to good order as competition between prisoners to access a range of resources including telephones, work places and staff time causes tensions.”

Governors reported this month they could handle no more than 8,126 inmates — but last week the prison population hit 8,137.

At a meeting with prison bosses last week, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill promised to examine every means of tackling the crisis.

But Scottish Prison Officers’ Association spokesman Jim Dawson said: “We have grave concerns about the levels we are containing. If it gets to prisoners locked in cells 24 hours a day, the situation will deteriorate quickly.”

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