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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Inmate blunder firm wins contract
Reliance van
Reliance has admitted losing three prisoners
A security firm which mistakenly released prisoners in Scotland has won a huge new contract south of the border for transporting inmates.

Reliance freed three prisoners in error soon after taking over the prisoner escort contract in Scotland.

The blunders led to a suspension of plans for more private contracts.

It has now won an expanded 250,000, seven-year contract to provide court and custodial services in south Wales and west England.

Reliance has been operating a similar contract in south west England and Wales for the past seven years.

But the new 250,000 contract is for an area two-and-half times larger than the existing one.

'Inexcusable'

Scottish Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson called the prisoner release controversy "inexcusable".

She also suspended plans to introduce more privately run prison escort services in Scotland.

The firm has been fined for its errors in Scotland and insists it has overcome the problems which blighted the first few weeks of the contract.

But justice spokeswoman for the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, said the firm had taken over the Scottish contract when they were not up to the job.

Reliance managing director Tom Riall said winning the contract reflected firm's success in "the provision of custodial and court services in England and Wales".




SEE ALSO:
Fines for prisoner transfer firm
28 May 04  |  Scotland
Reliance makes new prisoner error
18 May 04  |  Scotland
Missing court youth arrested
25 Apr 04  |  Scotland


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