Prison Service

– Scottish Parliament written question – answered on 21st January 2003.

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Photo of Karen Whitefield Karen Whitefield Labour

Question S1W-33286

To ask the Scottish Executive what assessment it has made of recent incidents at HM Prison Shotts and what action it will take as a result.

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat

I have asked Tony Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to respond. His response is as follows:

On 2 January at HM Prison Shotts, a large number of prisoners in A Hall and some in B Hall were involved in concerted indiscipline. The SPS resolved the incident at 15:00 the following day. One member of staff suffered a broken leg. There was damage to the prison accommodation.

On 7 January, in a separate incident also at HM Prison Shotts, an episode of concerted indiscipline resulted in three members of staff receiving stab wounds which resulted in them being detained in hospital. The SPS brought the incident to a conclusion at 05:30 the following day.

The SPS has well established procedures for reviewing such incidents which are now in progress involving the staff who handled the incident on the ground, the Incident Control Teams at SPS Headquarters and senior Governors of other establishments. Ministers were briefed at the outset, during and after each incident.

Both incidents are the subject of police investigations and criminal charges have been brought in relation to the second. This, and SPS’s role as a law enforcement agency, properly restrict what I can say about the action we will take following the incidents. We are in touch with other law enforcement agencies, the emergency services and others to review learning points and actions we can take to reduce the risk of such incidents occurring and further improve our response to them. The same process is under way internally, and at a time of high prisoner numbers we are revising contingency plans following the loss of accommodation at Shotts as a result of these incidents.

I would like to place on record SPS’s concern for the well-being of the staff injured in these incidents and our appreciation of the professional and effective response of staff and managers at Shotts and other establishments to these difficult and dangerous incidents and in the major dispersal operation which followed the first.

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