14 February 2020

Scottish Labour Justice Spokesperson, James Kelly MSP, has highlighted the extent of cuts to the over-burdened Scottish Prison Service since the SNP assumed office.

The figures show that since 2007/2008, the Scottish Prison Service has faced cuts in real terms to its budget of £713m.

Despite the cuts, the Scottish Prison Service is under more strain than ever with HM Chief Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland raising concerns about the 9 per cent rise in inmates in 2018/19, highlighting the fact that the prison population is now exceeding the design and operational capacity of the Scottish Prison Service.

To address capacity issues, notwithstanding the reductions in its budget, the Scottish Prison Service has also been forced to buy space in the privately-operated prisons of HMP Addiewell and HMP Kilmarnock.

Commenting, Scottish Labour Justice Spokesperson James Kelly MSP, said:

“The Scottish Prison Service is under immense financial pressure. Successive SNP Governments have cut the Scottish Prison Service to the bone, leaving them without the capacity to safely manage the sharp rise in our prison population and being forced to rent space in privately-run prisons.

“HMP Barlinnie is now running at 50 per cent over capacity. This is simply unacceptable and is letting down both staff and prisoners.

“ Sadly, the occurrence of assaults on staff and stress-related illnesses are rising. We cannot put staff and prisoners in danger to save cash.

“ It is time that the SNP must confronted the reality that we need to invest in a modern prison service that responds to challenges such as our ageing prisoner population and substance misuse crisis in prisons.

“ Any failure to do so will fail staff and prisoners alike.”
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