Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Friday, 22 August 2008 16:35 UK

Female prisoners moved from jail

Inside Inverness Prison
Overcrowding was flagged up during a recent inspection

Women prisoners have been moved from a jail to help deal with record levels of overcrowding, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has confirmed.

Thirteen remand, or short-term, female prisoners have been transferred from Inverness to Cornton Vale in Stirling, where there were cells available.

The number of male and female prisoners recently reached 180 at Inverness where the recommended capacity is about 100.

Overcrowding at the jail was highlighted in a report in April.

Safe prison

Following the release of his inspection findings, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Dr Andrew McLellan said a new prison for the Highlands was needed.

He said it was one of the most overcrowded in Scotland and the women's unit showed what is "best and worst" about it

His inspection found inmates sleeping on mattresses on cell floors and female prisoners having little to do.

However, Dr McLellan praised staff for running a safe prison with high quality healthcare and low drug abuse.

His visit was made without advance warning last November.

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