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Tuesday, April 27, 1999 Published at 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK


Inmates down tools

Private prisons have proved controversial

A demonstration has taken place at Scotland's only private prison a month after it opened.

About 150 inmates at Kilmarnock jail refused to attend work. The prison was locked down for six hours.

The Scottish Prison Service has not revealed the cause of the dispute but a spokesman stressed the incident was peaceful.

He added that the incident was handled by Premier Prisons' staff, without reinforcement from other jails.

Kilmarnock Prison, Scotland's first and only private prison, opened its doors last month.

The previous Conservative government's plan to place prisoners in the custody of a commercial operation was consistently opposed by prison officers.

But ministers insisted that it was an important step towards reducing pressure on the rest of the prison system.

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