Prison Service

– Scottish Parliament written question – answered on 21st January 2002.

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Photo of Angus MacKay Angus MacKay Labour

Question S1W-22102

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has any plans to change the current system of escorting prisoners.

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat

The police, Scottish Courts Services, and the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) will proceed with contracting-out the escorting of prisoners. The range of such escorting will be from police cells and prisons to court, the management of prisoners within court buildings and escorting throughout SPS. There will be a restructuring of the police presence retained in court for public order purposes.

By contracting-out the escorting of prisoners to a specialist provider, significant benefits will accrue to the criminal justice system. The disruptive impact that providing escorts currently has on the continuity of provision of prison industries and offending programmes will cease. This will enable us to concentrate our efforts on the core task of reducing reoffending. The police will look to return officers, released from court and escort duty, to core policing roles within their communities.

SPS, as the only national service with the necessary legal powers, will manage the contract. The preparations for contracting-out and the tender negotiations will be undertaken by a Criminal Justice Inter-Agency Group comprising representatives of the police, Scottish Court Services and SPS, with the SPS taking the lead.

It is expected that the developing and letting of the contracts will be completed in approximately one year and that the contractors will take on escort duties in a phased process during 2003-04.

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